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AXIS Capital (AXS) Estimates Q4 Catastrophe Loss of $195-$205M

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AXIS Capital Holdings Limited AXS estimates fourth-quarter 2020 catastrophe loss of $195-$205 million before income taxes. The estimated loss of $125 million, pre-tax, can be attributed to COVID-19 pandemic, which is an addition to the estimate of $235 million provided in the first quarter.

The other catastrophe and weather-related estimated losses in the range of $70 million to $80 million before income taxes, can be attributed to Hurricanes Zeta and Delta and regional weather events in the United States.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for AXIS Capital’s fourth-quarter earnings is currently pegged at 79 cents, indicating a surge of 1,480% from the year-ago quarter reported figure.  We expect estimates to move south once analysts start incorporating loss estimates into their numbers.

Colorado State University hurricane researchers had predicted an extremely active Atlantic hurricane season in 2020, citing warm sea surface temperatures and low wind shear in the tropical Atlantic as primary factors. The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team had predicted 24 named storms for 2020. Of those, 12 were expected to become hurricanes and five were expected to achieve major hurricane strength.

RMS, the world’s leading catastrophe risk solutions company, estimates total onshore U.S. insured losses from Hurricane Zeta to be between $3 and $5 billion. The estimate includes losses to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in the range of $200 to $400 million.

RMS also estimated total onshore US losses from Hurricane Delta between $2.0 billion and $3.5 billion. The loss estimate includes losses to the National Flood Insurance Program between $200 million and $400 million.

Being a property and casualty insurer, this Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) insurer has substantial exposure to losses from natural disasters, man-made catastrophes and other catastrophic events, which has been inducing volatility in its underwriting results. In the first nine months of 2020, catastrophe and weather-related losses, net of reinstatement premiums, were $325 million. The catastrophe and weather-related losses included $137 million associated with first party coverages attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Combined ratios deteriorated 870 basis points in the first nine months of 2020.

Shares of AXIS Capital have gained 29.9% in the past six months’ time period, outperforming the industry’s increase of 16.4%.

Q4 Catastrophe Loss Estimate by Other P&C Insurers

United Insurance Holdings Corp. UIHC estimates fourth-quarter 2020 catastrophe loss between $85 million and $100 million before income taxes or between $67 million and $79 million after tax, net of expected reinsurance recoveries. The estimated loss can be attributed to three named windstorms hurricanes Delta and Zeta, and Tropical Storm Eta as well as other non-named windstorm catastrophe events.

RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. RNR projects a net negative impact of around $170 million on fourth-quarter operational results, which is scheduled to release on Jan 26, 2021. The adverse impact is likely to have resulted from incidence of numerous catastrophe events in both third and fourth quarters of 2020, and alterations in estimated losses from catastrophe events of the third quarter.

Another P&C insurer, namely The Allstate Corporation ALL has also been exposed to severe catastrophe events, which have limited its underwriting profitability.

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