If Hurricane Sandy remains a Category 1 hurricane, property and casualty insurers may end up be on the hook for damages more than the reinsurers. We have seen an estimate of damages from the storm exceeding $3 billion for the insurers, but until this actually hits and the damage occurs, it will be very difficult to tally up. Wind damage and flood damage are assessed differently, so we will lay off any real expectations with U.S. markets closed for trading.
Reinsurance stocks are trading lower in Europe, with Swiss Re shares down 2.6% and MunichRe is down almost 2%. As a reminder, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) has exposure to reinsurance claims.
Chubb Corp. (NYSE: CB) has not really traded overseas, and Allstate Corp. (NYSE: ALL) looks as though it was indicated down between 1% and 2% in very thin overseas trading indications. Until the NYSE reopens for trading this week, these two insurers may be very hard to assess as far as stocks are concerned.
Another issue to watch is Crawford & Co. (NYSE: CRD-B), as it provides claims management solutions to insurance companies and self-insured entities. We think of it almost as an army of individuals as insurance claims adjusters.
JON C. OGG