Third-Quarter Insured Losses of $40.8 Billion an All-Time Record, Making 2005 Costliest Year for Catastrophes – says ISO’s Property Claim Service Unit

Pummelled by Hurricane Katrina and six other natural catastrophes in the third quarter, U.S. property/casualty insurers paid an all-time record $40.8 billion to homeowners and businesses for insured property losses in 14 states, according to preliminary estimates by ISO’s Property Claim Services (PCS) unit. The loss tally already makes 2005 the costliest year for catastrophe damage.

The quarter’s catastrophe losses compare with the $23.7 billion loss in third-quarter 2004 — the industry’s previous worst third quarter — and $3.7 billion in third-quarter 2003. Insured losses during the first nine months of 2005 now stand at $43.8 billion from 19 catastrophic events in 37 states — the industry’s worst nine-month period ever — compared with $24.7 billion during the same period last year. PCS estimates the quarter produced nearly 2.3 million claims for damage to personal and commercial property, vehicles, boats and yachts.

At $34.4 billion, Hurricane Katrina was the quarter’s costliest event, followed by Hurricanes Rita ($4.7 billion) and Dennis ($1.1 billion). Louisiana was the hardest-hit state with $25.04 billion in insured losses, followed by Mississippi with $9.9 billion, Texas with $2.2 billion, Alabama with $1.5 billion and Florida with $1.3 billion.

Following is a summary of third-quarter catastrophe losses and frequency of events since 1996:

YearLoss ($)Frequency
19962.2 billion8
1997510 million5
19984.1 billion8
19992.7 billion7
2000315 million3
200119.1 billion4
2002715 million6
20033.7 billion 7
200423.7 billion8
200540.8 billion7

ISO’s PCS unit defines a catastrophe as an event that causes $25 million or more in insured property losses and affects a significant number of property/casualty policyholders and insurers. PCS estimates represent anticipated insured loss on an industry-wide basis arising from catastrophes, reflecting the total insurance payment for personal and commercial property lines of insurance covering fixed property, personal property, vehicles, boats, related property items, business interruption and additional living expenses. The estimates exclude loss adjustment expenses.

About ISO
Insurance Services Office (ISO) Ltd is a leading provider of products and services that help measure, manage and reduce risk. ISO provides data, analytics and decision-support solutions to professionals in many fields, including insurance, finance, estate agency, health services, government and human resources. Professionals use ISO's databases and services to classify and evaluate a variety of risks and detect potential fraud. Around the world, ISO's services help customers protect people, property and financial assets. ISO's customers in the UK include Admiral Group, AXA Insurance, Chaucer Insurance, Highway Insurance, Lloyd's, Rubicon Corporation and Zurich Financial Services.

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Manuela Whittaker, IBA – PR for ISO
Tel: 01780 721433

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