Safeco Sees After-Tax Losses from Wilma at $29 Million

Seattle-based Safeco announced estimated after-tax catastrophe losses from Hurricane Wilma of $29 million, or $0.23 per diluted share. Pretax catastrophe losses from the storm are estimated at $45 million.

These figures represent estimated losses both from claims received through Nov. 9, 2005 and from future expected claims from policyholders with hurricane damage, and estimated assessments to Safeco.

Safeco does not anticipate reimbursement from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund or the company’s property catastrophe reinsurance for losses related to Hurricane Wilma.

“As the 2005 hurricane season comes to a close, hundreds of Safeco claims professionals are on the ground, helping customers, agents and brokers recover from Hurricane Wilma – a storm more costly by industry estimates than any one of Florida’s four 2004 hurricanes,” said Mike McGavick, Safeco chairman and chief executive officer.

As it has following each of this year’s major hurricanes, Safeco deployed generators and dedicated service personnel to help Florida agents whose business operations were disrupted by Hurricane Wilma, so they could serve their customers.

Safeco has 0.7 percent share of the Florida homeowners market and 2.4 percent share of the commercial multi-peril market. The company’s loss estimate is less than proportionate to the company’s market share, due to strict underwriting guidelines in areas susceptible to coastal storms.

Safeco estimated losses for Hurricane Wilma using its knowledge of severity and reporting patterns from past storms as well as claims data and assumptions specific to this catastrophe.

The company will announce its fourth-quarter financial results on Jan. 18, 2006.