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UPDATE 2-Beazley expects $150 mln hit to profits from hurricanes, Mexican earthquakes
September 29, 2017 / 6:56 AM / in 2 months

UPDATE 2-Beazley expects $150 mln hit to profits from hurricanes, Mexican earthquakes

* First Lloyd’s insurer to warn on profits after hurricanes

* Sees aggregate net cost of between $175-$275 million

* To provide further update on Nov. 9

* Share price up as hit to profits smaller than expected (Adds share price reaction, analyst’s comment)

By Noor Zainab Hussain

Sept 29 (Reuters) - Lloyd’s of London insurer Beazley said on Friday it reckoned that its losses from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in the Caribbean and southern United States and a series of earthquakes in Mexico would reduce its 2017 earnings by about $150 million.

Beazley said early indications pointed to an aggregate net cost from the hurricanes and earthquakes of between $175-$275 million.

Beazley’s shares, however, were up 3.5 percent at 475.8 pence at 0807 GMT, valuing the company at nearly 2.5 billion pounds, with analysts having earlier pointed to a much bigger loss.

“The figure of $150 million compares to our previous pre-tax forecast for 2017 of $280 million ... we expect the market to breathe a sigh of relief with this announcement,” Shore Capital analyst Eamonn Flanagan said in a note.

“The recent fall in the stock price ... had implied a considerably greater hit,” he added.

Beazley said it would provide a further update on Nov. 9, cautioning that there was still significant uncertainty surrounding the cost of these events.

The underwriter, which provides marine, casualty and property insurance and reinsurance, had reported a pretax profit of $293.2 million for the year ended Dec. 31.

Insurers and reinsurers are counting the costs of Harvey, which lashed Texas causing flooding that put it on the scale of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, which ravaged several islands in the northern Caribbean, before moving into Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Most recently Maria, the most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. island territory of Puerto Rico in nearly 90 years, knocked out the territory’s entire power grid, unleashing severe flooding and causing widespread heavy damage.

Lloyd’s of London said on Thursday that it expected net losses for the market of $4.5 billion from hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Modelling firm RMS estimates total insured losses from Harvey and Irma of up to $80 billion and $15-30 billion of losses from Hurricane Maria.

Additionally, rival modelling firm AIR Worldwide earlier this week estimated insured losses for Maria of $40-$85 billion.

Beazley’s warning follows a host of similar announcements from insurers and reinsurers.

Underwriter Hiscox estimated it would face net claims of about $150 million from Hurricane Harvey and said it has yet to determine losses from Hurricane Irma.

German reinsurer Hannover Re said it could miss its 2017 profit target, its first such warning since the 2008 financial crisis, following rival Munich Re which was the first major reinsurer to flag a hit to earnings from hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

U.S. property and casualty insurer Chubb Ltd on estimated after-tax losses of up to $1.28 billion from hurricanes Harvey and Irma and Allstate Corp estimated pre-tax catastrophe losses of $593 million, net of reinsurance recoveries, for August. (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Rachel Armstrong, Greg Mahlich)

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