Safeco Estimates its Pacific Northwest Windstorm Losses at $20 Million

Seattle-based Safeco announced estimated after-tax catastrophe losses from the Pacific Northwest windstorm in Nov. and Dec. 2006 of $20 million, or $0.18 per diluted share. Pretax catastrophe losses from the storm are estimated at $30 million, the company reported.

The storms hit during the busy holiday season and created prolonged power outages in the Puget Sound area. The figures represent estimated losses both from claims received through Jan. 4 and from future expected claims from policyholders with storm damage from this event. Some policyholders delayed reporting claims due because of the severity of the storm, however.

“December’s windstorm was the worst to hit in the Pacific Northwest in more than a decade, but our National Catastrophe Team was on the ground the very next day,” said Paula Reynolds, Safeco president and CEO. “As a result, most of our customers have repairs under way.”

Safeco said it has made partial or full payments on the majority of its December windstorm claims reported to date. Members of the company’s National Catastrophe Team remain in the Northwest to complete recovery efforts.

Safeco estimated windstorm losses based on the value of property in areas with storm damage, its knowledge of severity and reporting patterns from past storms, damage projections based on wind speed, anticipated costs for a surge in demand for goods and labor to complete repairs, and other factors requiring considerable judgment. Due to the severity of the storm and the preliminary nature of the information to prepare these estimates, the company noted a caveat that there can be no assurance that its ultimate costs for the events will not exceed its estimate.

The company will announce its 2006 financial results on Jan. 30, 2007.

Source: Safeco