The Bermuda-based Everest Re Group, Ltd. announced that it has increased its loss estimates for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Total pre-tax losses from these events, which had previously been estimated at $1.0 billion, including the $300 million for Hurricane Wilma announced on November 28, 2005, are now estimated to reach $1.2 billion, net of reinstatements.
Everest Re said: “For the full year 2005, the net after-tax impact of these storms is estimated at $962 million. For the fourth quarter of 2005, including the previously announced loss estimate for Hurricane Wilma, losses arising from these storms are now estimated at $492 million on a pre-tax basis and $395 million on an after-tax basis. As a result of the increased loss estimates on these storms, the Company will experience a more significant full-year loss than had originally been anticipated.”
The Company indicated, however, that it still “expects year-end shareholders’ equity to be in excess of $4.0 billion, an increase when compared to the $3.7 billion it had at December 31, 2004.”
As a great majority of insurers and reinsurers have realized, “the unusual frequency and intensity of the record-breaking windstorms of 2005 caused significant and widespread destruction, making this the costliest natural catastrophe year on record for the insurance industry – and for Everest.” The bulletin also explained that “each of these storms, particularly Hurricane Katrina, had unique characteristics which posed unusual challenges with respect to loss estimation.”
Chairman and CEO Joseph V. Taranto commented, “Despite the significance of these losses, we believe that the Company’s fundamentals remain strong and we expect Everest will end 2005 with its largest ever capital base and superb positioning for 2006 market opportunities. We are very disappointed with the 2005 hurricane losses but note that ours is a risk business offering value to clients through a willingness and capacity to shoulder risk over the long term – a business proposition thoroughly demonstrated in 2005.”
Everest said it “expects to release its fourth quarter and full year 2005 earnings after the close of trading on the NYSE on January 30, 2006. A conference call discussing the results will be held at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time on January 31, 2006, at which time management will comment further on results and respond to questions from the investment community. The call will be available on the Internet at the Company’s Website, www.everestre.com or at www.streetevents.com.”
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