Natural Disaster Losses Already 2X Entire 2010 Totals

According to industry information provider A.M. Best, insurers lost about $38.6 billion to various natural disaster property and casualty insurance claims in the first three quarters of 2011.

These claims include homeowners and auto insurance damages, many of which were reportedly caused by tornado and hailstorm events in the Midwest and Southeast. The total is nearly double the figure for all of 2010, when natural disasters cost $19.6 billion for the year and about $16.1 billion for the first three quarters.

Disasters like Hurricane Irene, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates caused $7.3 billion in insured losses on its own, have significantly reduced profits for insurance providers this year. One estimate indicates profits fell from about $16.8 billion in the first half of 2010 to a low of $4.8 billion during the same period this year.

While most hope the exceptional losses in 2011 are an anomaly, a continuation of such high numbers of claims have forced auto insurance providers and other property and casualty insurers to look in several directions in order to cope with the expenses.

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