The Intelligent Quarterly from the publishers of The Insurance Insider

Winter 2017 / 2018

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Ireland: Ophelia losses

Despite relatively modest insured losses and a mercifully low casualty toll, ex-Hurricane Ophelia, which made landfall in Ireland on 16 October, was nonetheless a notable event.

Catastrophe data specialist Perils estimated insured losses at EUR60mn ($71.6mn) after Ophelia caused significant damage across Ireland, and lesser damage in Wales, Northern Ireland, north-western England and Scotland. Falling trees killed three people in Ireland during the storm.

Perils said the storm caused EUR49mn ($58.5mn) of damage in Ireland, with another EUR10mn ($12mn) of damage occurring in the UK.

Perils noted that Ophelia was a very rare European windstorm in that it resulted from a tropical cyclone travelling much further east across the North Atlantic than usual.

It is the largest hurricane ever recorded that far east in the North Atlantic Basin, having reached Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale by 14 October, before becoming an "ex-hurricane" the following day.

Iran: 2-3% of quake losses covered

The magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck near the Iran/Iraq border is reported to have killed around 500 people and injured thousands more in Iran's Kermanshah Province, near the temblor's epicentre.

The quake also killed 10 people in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq, and injured more than 400 more in the neighbouring country.

Kermanshah Province's vice governor, Mojtaba Nikkerdar, has put economic losses from the disaster at 26tn rials ($738mn).

Early loss figures for the 12 November quake indicate that between 2 and 3 percent of properties in the earthquake zone were insured, according to English-language Iranian business newspaper The Financial Tribune.

Iran's largest insurer, the state-owned Iran Insurance Company, is expected to pay out 300bn rials ($7.7mn) in claims, The Financial Tribune said.

The insurer has so far paid 1.3bn rials for 1,320 claims.

Alborz Insurance is reported to have insured 8,000 homes damaged in the earthquake.

US: California wildfire losses reach $3.5bn

Total disclosed losses from what are likely to be the costliest wildfires in Californian history reached $3.5bn as of 20 November.

The bulk of losses are concentrated among a relatively small number of personal lines insurers.

State Farm, Farmers, California State Auto Association (CSAA) and Allstate are the four largest primary writers in the Northern California homeowners' market.

Together the four insurers took a 48.8 percent share of the state's homeowners' multi-peril insurance market in 2016, according to AM Best.

Allstate has put out an initial wildfire loss estimate of $452mn, while it is understood that CSAA has a $950mn loss.

Elsewhere, AIG CFO Sid Sankaran disclosed on the company's third quarter earnings call that it would take approximately $500mn of losses from the wildfires.

Sankaran said the figure was "net of reinsurance and largely in our personal insurance business".

Germany: Xavier causes losses of $343mn

Property damage caused by Extratropical Cyclone Xavier is expected to cost EUR291mn ($343mn), according to an initial insured loss estimate from catastrophe data aggregator Perils.

The storm struck Hamburg on 5 October, killing seven people as it moved through Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg before reaching Berlin.

Perils said the timing of the storm meant that more trees were felled than if it had happened later in the year, as autumn leaves caught in the wind.

Georg Andrea, head of data management at Perils, noted that "a significant part of the damage was caused by falling trees which still had leaves on them".

The company said it would release an updated estimate on 5 January 2018, three months after the event.

This article was published as part of issue Winter 2017

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