Swiss Re Estimates Hurricane Jeanne Claims at Around $150 Million

October 7, 2004

Swiss Re announced that, based on current estimates, it expects claims related to Hurricane Jeanne to be approximately $150 million before tax.

The bulletin noted that Jeanne was the “fourth hurricane to make landfall in the US in 2004, having previously caused devastation in Haiti. Hitting Florida as a category 3 hurricane with wind speeds of up to 190 km/h [115 mph] on 25 September.” The storm followed almost the same path as Hurricane Frances three weeks earlier.

“Industry loss estimates for Hurricane Jeanne range between $6 billion and $8 billion,” Swiss Re noted. It also said its estimate was preliminary, “given the complex claims environment that results when two hurricanes take the same path over a short period of time. It will take several weeks before customers will be able to assess which damages arose from which storms and their corresponding claims.”

The world’s second largest reinsurer also commented on the unusual fact that “Jeanne’s landfall makes 2004 the first year since 1886 that four hurricanes have hit a single US state in the same year. The industry loss for the four hurricanes: Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne is estimated between $20 billion and $25 billion. Swiss Re estimates its claims from the four hurricanes, together with
Typhoon Songda in Japan, will be in the range of $750 million.”

The company indicated, however, that “the unprecedented nature of this year’s storms means that, should claims estimates remain at current levels, Swiss Re will benefit from using some of its equalisation reserves to absorb part of the financial impact of these claims.”

It also said it expects “the frequency and severity of this year’s storm season will have a positive effect on renewing property reinsurance rates.”

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