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What If the Real 'Big One' Hits the Northeast?

Stocks in this article: ALL CB AIG TRV BRK.B BRK.A

Here's a quick look at underwriting results for the first three quarters for five publicly traded insurers with significant P&C market share in the Northeast, along with damage estimates from Hurricane Sandy, if available, and third-quarter capital levels:

  • Allstate (ALL) on Nov. 28 estimated that its losses for October, net of reinsurance, totaled $1.1 billion before taxes. The company said that "autos represent approximately 40% of the total gross losses, with 78% in New York, 19% in New Jersey and 3% in other states." For its Property-Liability unit, Allstate reported underwriting income of $1.316 billion for the first three quarters of 2012, improving from an underwriting loss of $1.483 billion, a year earlier. The company had $20.8 billion in total equity as of Sept. 30, increasing from.
  • The Travelers Companies (TRV) on Dec. 5 announced that its preliminary estimate of losses related to Sandy was $1.135 billion, net of reinsurance. The after-tax loss estimate was $650 million. For the first three quarters, Travelers reported an underwriting profit of $845 million, improving from an underwriting loss of $1.453 during the first three quarters of 2011. Travelers reported that as of Sept. 30, the company had total equity of $29.5 billion, increasing from $24.5 billion in Sept. 2011.
  • Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) has not yet announced an estimate of its losses from Hurricane Sandy. The company reported an underwriting profit of $1.065 billion for the first three quarters, increasing from $261 million a year earlier. The company had $189.1 billion in total equity as of Sept. 30, increasing from $170.1 billion a year earlier.
  • American International Group (AIG) on Dec. 7 announced a preliminary estimate of $2.0 billion in losses from Hurricane Sandy, net of reinsurance, or $1.3 billion after taxes. The company also said it expected to contribute $1 billion in capital to its AIG Property Casualty unit, after the unit had paid $2.4 billion in dividends to the holding company through the first three quarters of 2012. For the first three quarters of 2012, the company followed the industry trend for improved underwriting, but still showed an underwriting loss of $838 million for its Property Casualty Unit, narrowing from a loss of $2.494 billion a year earlier. AIG reported that as of Sept. 30, the P&C unit had $49.6 billion in capital and that the parent company had total equity of $102.4 billion.
  • Chubb Corp. (CB) on Dec. 11 announced estimated losses of $880 million before tax, or $570 million after tax, from Hurricane Sandy, net of reinsurance. The company had previously suspended its repurchases of common shares, but said it would resume buybacks following the loss announcement, although at a slower pace than originally planned. For the first three quarters of 2012, Chubb reported underwriting income of $880 million, increasing from $290 million during the first three quarters of 2011. The company had $16.0 billion in equity as of Sept. 30, increasing from $15.3 billion a year earlier.

-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

>Contact by Email.

Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.
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