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Three insurers increase estimated catastrophe losses


HAMILTON, Bermuda, and NEW YORK—Two Bermuda-based underwriters and a U.S.-based underwriter have made preliminary estimates of their fourth-quarter catastrophe losses.

Hamilton, Bermuda-based Alterra Capital Holdings Ltd. said Wednesday that it expects to record fourth-quarter 2011 catastrophe-related losses of approximately $50 million, including an initial loss estimate of approximately $30 million—pretax and net of reinsurance and reinstatement premiums—due to flooding in Thailand.

“It is expected that losses from the Thai event will largely relate to claims for contingent business interruption,” Alterra said in a statement. Its remaining catastrophe losses recorded in the fourth quarter relate principally to the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last March.

Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd., also based in Hamilton, on Wednesday issued an initial estimate of fourth-quarter losses of $54 million—net of applicable reinsurance, reinstatement premiums and taxes—due to flooding in Thailand.

“This is consistent with estimated industry insured losses of $15 billion arising from widespread flooding, which occurred in Thailand in October and November 2011,” Aspen said in a statement.

Aspen also increased its aggregate estimate of losses for natural catastrophes for the first nine months of last year by $48 million, net of applicable reinsurance, reinstatement premiums and tax. Aspen said the rise stemmed primarily from a $36 million increase in its loss estimate for the Tohoku earthquake. That increase resulted from new information concerning a major undisclosed Japanese mutual insurer, which Aspen now assumes will be a total loss from Aspen’s participation.

Meanwhile, New York-based Transatlantic Holdings, Inc. said Wednesday that it expects to report total net catastrophe costs—net of reinstatement premiums, reinsurance and taxes—of approximately $110 million in its fourth-quarter results.

Such catastrophe costs, which are net of taxes, consist principally of $72 million related to the Thai floods and $33 million in the February 2011 New Zealand earthquake.