Bloomberg News

Allstate Says October Disasters Cost $1 Billion Led by Sandy

November 28, 2012

Allstate Corp. (ALL:US), the largest publicly traded U.S. auto and home insurer, said catastrophes cost $1.08 billion before taxes in October as superstorm Sandy lashed states including New York and New Jersey.

The projection is net of reinsurance, Northbrook, Illinois- based Allstate said today in a statement. Autos represented about 40 percent of the $1.28 billion gross loss. New York accounted for 66 percent of the claims, followed by New Jersey at 20 percent. The insurer had made about $340 million in payments as of Nov. 26, according to the statement.

Allstate joins insurers and reinsurers in tallying losses from Sandy, which killed more than 100 people, cut off electricity to 8 million customers and damaged homes, vehicles, businesses and public infrastructure in the U.S. Northeast. Projecting costs involves determining whether damage was caused by flooding, which usually isn’t covered under homeowners’ policies, said Mark Dwelle, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

“The claims that are the easiest are when a house blows over,” Dwelle said before Allstate’s announcement. “They want to adjudicate them as fairly as they can,” he said in a phone interview. “But likewise, they don’t want to pay what they don’t owe.”

Allstate rose 0.4 percent to $40.37 at 9:32 a.m. in New York. The insurer has climbed 47 percent this year compared with the 11 percent gain in the 24-company KBW Insurance Index. (KIX)

The insurer typically discloses monthly catastrophe figures on the third Thursday of the following month when the cost exceeds $150 million. Allstate said Nov. 15 that it would need more time than usual to calculate October’s result.

Swiss Re Ltd., the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, said this week that it may pay $900 million in claims related to Sandy. Total market losses could be as much as $25 billion, the Zurich-based company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Noah Buhayar in New York at nbuhayar@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net


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