Expect Harvey and Irma to return … in companies’ earnings


Then-Southwest Airlines CFO Laura Wright said in October 2005 that the company lost between $15 million and $20 million due to the travel shutdowns following Katrina and Rita. Still, the year-over-year figures were not impacted “due to a similar impact from the four hurricanes we had in the third quarter of last year,” she said.

Jay Benet, CFO of Travelers Insurance, blamed Matthew and Tennessee wildfires for $137 million in pretax catastrophic losses during a January call with analysts. Still, the company had an operating income of $919 million for the quarter, up 4 percent from a year prior.

The sheer size of Katrina caused Allstate to delay its standard catastrophe loss estimate in 2005, CFO Dan Hale told analysts on a call later that year. The company relied on historical trends and aerial photographs to estimate losses in some areas. After-tax catastrophe losses amounted to $3.06 billion for the third quarter that year, the company said. That was $1.95 billion more than the previous year’s third quarter.

Hale on that same call said the company purchased reinsurance for its exposure in Florida, Texas, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and the Carolinas.

This year, analysts at a reinsurance roundtable in Monte Carlo on Sept. 10 said they expected Harvey to wipe out the catastrophe budgets for many reinsurers for the rest of the year.

David Flandro, head of global analytics at JLT Re, said Harvey’s unusual path would make the reinsurance industry rethink its ability to correctly predict the paths of future storms.

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