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RenaissanceRe estimates $90 million loss from California wildfires

Posted On: Dec. 6, 2017 2:06 PM CST

RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. on Wednesday said it estimates it will incur a fourth-quarter loss of $90 million from California’s October wildfires.

The Pembroke, Bermuda-based reinsurer warned that “its actual net negative impact from the wildfires will vary from this preliminary estimate, perhaps materially.” Updated loss estimates related to the wildfires will be reflected in RenaissanceRe’s fourth-quarter results.

The October Northern California wildfires were a series of 250 wildfires, with 21 of the wildfires became major fires that burned at least 245,000 acres. 

U.K.-based Fitch Ratings Ltd. said last month that California wildfires will be the costliest wildfire loss in U.S. history, citing insured loss estimates of $8 billion. Fitch said it does not expect any of the insurers or reinsurers that it rates to be downgraded solely as a result of the wildfire losses.

The loss includes the sum of estimates of net claims and claim expenses incurred, earned reinstatement premiums assumed and ceded, lost profit commissions and redeemable noncontrolling interest, RenaissanceRe Holdings said in a statement.

The company said that it estimates are based on a review of its potential exposures, preliminary discussions with certain counterparties and catastrophe modeling techniques. 

"We extend our sympathies to all those affected by the October 2017 California wildfires,” Kevin J. O’Donnell, CEO of RenaissanceRe, said in a statement. “This catastrophe once again highlights the critical role that the insurance and reinsurance industry plays in protecting people and rebuilding communities in the wake of natural disasters.” 

Last month, Chubb Ltd. said it expected to report $320 million in pretax catastrophe losses for the fourth quarter. Most of the losses stems from wildfires in California, which Chubb estimated will result in $280 million in pretax losses.