144,000 commercial lines claims cost an estimated $1.3bn for damage from 23 catastrophes in 2007

U.S. property/casualty insurers are expected to pay homeowners and businesses $6.5bn for 2007 property losses from 23 catastrophes — the eighth lowest cost in a decade and the seventh lowest frequency for the same period, according to preliminary analysis by ISO’s Property Claim Services Unit.

PCS estimates that insurers paid 1.18m claims for damage in 41 states resulting from 2007’s 23 catastrophes. More than 721,000 personal lines claims accounted for $4.4bn, while 144,000 commercial lines claims cost an estimated $1.3bn, and 315,000 vehicle claims cost insurers an estimated $800m.

The 23 catastrophes consisted of 17 severe weather events (wind, hail, tornadoes, and flooding), five winter storms, and one wildland fire.

California was the state experiencing the highest insured losses ($1.23bn) followed by Minnesota ($747m) and Texas ($677m).

The costliest events to insurers in 2007 were severe weather that resulted in $1.35bn of insured damage from Texas to Maine, and the Witch Fire in San Diego County, California, which resulted in an estimated $1.1bn in losses.

Gary Kerney, assistant vice president, PCS, said: “For the second year in a row, the United States dodged a devastating hurricane. With the exception of Humberto, which made landfall in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana in September, no other hurricane made landfall on U.S. territory in 2007. However, catastrophes continue to occur and cause insured property damage that may not adversely affect the financial condition of most insurers, but do cause hardship to hundreds of thousands of policyholders.”

Fourth quarter 2007

PCS estimates that insurers paid $1.7bn of insured property loss resulting from four catastrophes between October and December 2007 — the fourth costliest fourth-quarter in the last decade.

The four catastrophes caused insured damage in nine states and a total of 159,000 claims. California experienced the biggest insured loss ($1.2bn) followed by Oklahoma ($188m) and Washington ($95m).