2012 Starts With Bad Weather Signs for Insurers

The problem with a potentially rough start to the year is that most insurers expected 2012 to be better than 2011, which was either the worst or second-worst year in industry history, depending on the ultimate losses from flooding in Thailand.

The Insurance Information Institute surveyed executives at its annual industry forum this week and found that 75 percent expect their profits to rise.

Nearly 80 percent said they expect their combined ratio — how much they pay out in expenses and claims versus how much they take in from premiums — to improve after topping 108 in 2011. (The figure means they paid out $1.08 in claims and expenses for every $1 in premiums they collected).

Feb 2010 Chile earthquake $8.0bn
Mar 2010 Melbourne hail storm $1.0bn
Mar 2010 Perth hail storm $1.1bn
Sep 2010 New Zealand earthquake $5.0bn+
Jan 2011 Queensland floods $2.3bn+
Feb 2011 Cyclone Yasi $1.2bn+
Feb 2011 New Zealand earthquake $15.0bn+
Mar 2011 Japan earthquake $30.0bn
Apr 2011 US Tornadoes $14.0bn
Oct 2011 Thailand floods $17.5bn+

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