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Small but frequent weather-related losses hit insurers' profits

Posted On: Aug. 31, 2014 12:00 AM CST

The Property Claim Services unit of Verisk Analytics Inc. doesn't have to declare the cause of insured property damage a catastrophe for insurers to feel the losses.

That was underscored in the first half of this year as underwriters tallied costs of property-damaging events, whether they were weather-related or not.

For example, Chubb Corp. Chairman, President and CEO John D. Finnegan said in a statement that “our results this quarter were adversely impacted by catastrophe and noncatastrophe losses related to severe weather in the United States as well as an unusually high level of homeowners and commercial fire losses.”

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. also noted that “elevated weather losses” affected its second-quarter performance.

Gloria Vogel, a senior vice president at Drexel Hamilton L.L.C. in New York, said noncatastrophe weather events involving hail, wind and fire losses are “very local in nature.”

“The industry's been calling these "kitty cats' — not catastrophes,” Ms. Vogel said. “But pennies begin to end up a dollar.”