Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Quakes, Tsunamis and Reinsurance

The recent disasters in Japan will likely send financial shockwaves across the P&C side of the insurance industry.

A M Best reports that "Swiss Re is estimating claims costs of about US$1.2 billion, net of retrocession and before tax, from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan" and that AIG "expects to incur a pretax insurance loss of US$700 million for its nonlife subsidiary Chartis Inc. from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami."

When both the wholesale (Swiss Re) and retail (AIG) markets are reeling, one can expect substantial price increases on related lines of coverage (such as homeowners, business and the like). The basic structure of insurance is, of course. "spreading the risk," which translates to "spreading the cost of the risk based on actual losses."

And so our wallets take another hit.
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