Weiss Ratings


Hurricane Katrina Hits Property and Casualty Insurers with
$1.5 Billion Underwriting Loss in Third Quarter 2005
Capital and Surplus Growth Slows

JUPITER, Fla., March 29, 2006 — Hurricane Katrina, the largest natural catastrophe in U.S. history, was responsible for property and casualty insurers' $1.5 billion net underwriting loss in the first three quarters of 2005, according to Weiss Ratings, Inc., the nation's leading independent provider of ratings and analyses of financial services companies, mutual funds, and stocks. The loss was a 140 percent decrease from the $3.6 billion gain reported during the same period in 2004.

Property and casualty insurers reporting the largest year-over year deterioration in underwriting performance were:

Company Headquarters Weiss
Safety
Rating
Capital &
Surplus
($Mil)
Underwriting Gain (Loss) ($Mil)
3rd Qtr
2005
3rd Qtr
2004
$
Change
State Farm Florida Ins. Co. Winter Haven, Fla. C 557.4 (1,216.1) 156.4 1,372.6
Allstate Floridian Ins. Co. Northbrook, Ill. B- 253.7 (1,126.8) (42.9) 1,084.0
United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co. St. Paul, Md. C- 917.7 (861.6) 5.5 867.1
St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. St. Paul, Minn. B- 4,686.1 (788.4) 46.3 834.7
Auto-Owners Ins. Co. Lansing, Mich. A 3,316.2 (297.5) 249.7 547.2

Weiss Safety Rating: A=Excellent; B=Good; C=Fair; D=Weak; E=Very Weak; F=Failed; U=Unrated



Helping to offset the unprecedented losses associated with Hurricane Katrina, property and casualty insurers earned $36.4 billion in net investment income during the first nine months of 2005, a $6.1 billion, or 20.2 percent increase over the $30.3 billion earned during the same period in 2004. Consequently, overall industry earnings rose 7.6 percent in the first nine months of 2005 to $30.2 billion, a dramatic slowdown compared to the same period in 2004 when profits jumped 22.4 percent to $28.1 billion.

Insurers reporting the largest increases in net investment income were:

Company Headquarters Weiss
Safety
Rating
Capital &
Surplus
($Mil)
Net Investment Income
(Loss) ($Mil)
3rd Qtr
2005
3rd Qtr
2004
$
Change
Columbia Ins. Co. Omaha, Neb. B- 6,583.2 366.5 3,768.9 3,402.4
Continental Casualty Co. Chicago, Ill. C 6,462.5 830.7 1,471.4 640.8
Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. Boston, Mass. B 6,529.5 439.4 767.9 328.5
Ohio Casualty Ins. Co. Fairfield, Ohio C+ 931.1 89.4 403.0 313.6
IDS Property Casualty Ins. Co. Green Bay, Wis. C+ 340.7 78.8 261.3 182.5

Weiss Safety Rating: A=Excellent; B=Good; C=Fair; D=Weak; E=Very Weak; F=Failed; U=Unrated

"Katrina reversed the industry's string of record profits in 2004 and the first half of 2005," said Melissa Gannon, vice president of Weiss Ratings, Inc. "With Katrina-related damage estimates continuing to rise, Hurricane Wilma losses hitting in the fourth quarter, and forecasts pointing to another busy hurricane season, property and casualty insurers are now faced with the challenge of returning their books back to underwriting profitability."

Industry Capital and Surplus Growth Slows

Following two seasons of elevated hurricane activity and the corresponding jump in insured losses, the industry's capital and surplus growth slowed considerably, rising by just 6.6 percent as of September 30, 2005 compared to a 16.4 percent increase at September 30, 2004 when the industry was experiencing record underwriting gains. Property and casualty insurers reporting the largest reduction in capital and surplus were:

Company Headquarters Weiss
Safety
Rating
Total
Assets
($Bil)
Capital & Surplus ($Bil)
3rd Qtr
2005
3rd Qtr
2004
$
Change
State Farm Mutual Auto Ins. Co. Bloomington, Ill. B+ 81,464.9 42,644.0 49,042.0 6,398.0
National Indemnity Co. Omaha, Neb. B+ 48,533.7 24,450.2 27,463.6 3,013.4
Columbia Ins. Co. Omaha, Neb. B- 9,272.9 6,583.2 8,808.1 2,224.9
St. Paul Fire & Marine St. Paul, N.M. B- 18,128.5 4,686.1 6,429.2 1,743.1
Employers Reinsurance Corp Overland Park, Mo. C 16,345.9 5,078.0 6,654.2 1,576.2

Weiss Safety Rating: A=Excellent; B=Good; C=Fair; D=Weak; E=Very Weak; F=Failed; U=Unrated


Notable Upgrades and Downgrades

Among the 2,376 property and casualty insurers reviewed by Weiss, 6 companies were upgraded, while 47 were downgraded.

Notable upgrades include:

• Modern Service Ins. Co. (Arden Hills, Minn.) from B- to B
• Excess Share Ins. Corp. (Dublin, Ohio) from C- to C
• Union Standard Lloyds (Irving, Texas) from C- to C

Notable downgrades include:

• Alea North America Ins. Co. (Cincinnati, Ohio) from C to D
• American Re-Insurance Co. (Princeton, N.J.) from D+ to D
• PXRE Reinsurance Co. (Edison, N.J.) from C to D-

The Weiss Safety Ratings are based on an analysis of a company's risk-adjusted capital, five-year historical profitability, quality of investments, liquidity, and stability. The latter category combines a series of factors including asset growth, premium growth, strength of affiliate companies and risk diversification.

Weiss Ratings, Inc. reviews more than 8,000 stocks daily, including all those traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange, and Nasdaq. Weiss also issues investment ratings on more than 12,000 mutual funds, covering equity, fixed-income, and closed-end funds, and provides financial safety ratings on more than 15,000 financial institutions, including banks and insurance companies. It is the only major rating agency that receives no direct or indirect compensation from the companies it rates. Ratings and analyses are available through www.weissratings.com or by calling 800-289-9222.

 

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Note to Editors: National and state listings of strongest and weakest property and casualty insurers are available.

 

 


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