The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Allstate, Travelers, PartnerRe, Hartford Financial Services and Chubb

  The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Allstate, Travelers, PartnerRe, Hartford
                         Financial Services and Chubb

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Nov. 29, 2012

CHICAGO, Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- announces the list of stocks
featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts
discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets.
Stocks recently featured in the blog include Allstate Corp. (NYSE:ALL), The
Travelers Companies (NYSE:TRV), PartnerRe Ltd. (NYSE:PRE), Hartford Financial
Services Inc. (NYSE:HIG) and The Chubb Corp. (NYSE:CB).


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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

Sandy Insured Loss Hits $22B

Disaster analysis companies have pegged insured loss from the recent Hurricane
Sandy to reach over $20 billion. This indicates skewed results for the
insurance companies in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Accordingly, the risk modeling company AIR Worldwide has raised its insured
loss estimate from the "superstorm" in the range of $16–22 billion, way higher
than the prior guidance of $7–15 billion.

Another disaster analysis firm – Eqecat – fixed its insured loss projection at
$20 billion, while it forecasts $50 billion in economic losses from the same
catastrophe. One more firm – RMS – expects insured losses from Sandy to hit
$25 billion. All the agencies believe that Sandy is the most damaging
superstorm after Hurricane Katrina and Ike.

Consequently, some insurers such as Allstate Corp. (NYSE:ALL), The Travelers
Companies (NYSE:TRV) and PartnerRe Ltd. (NYSE:PRE) have notified that the
catastrophe losses from Sandy are higher than their absorbing capacity.
Recently, Allstate stated that it expects pre-tax catastrophe losses of over
$150 million for October 2012. The majority of these losses are attributable
to superstorm Sandy that hit the Northeast, where Allstate owns about 10.7% of
the market share.

Over the past few years, catastrophe losses have not only been augmenting the
claims payments of the insurers but also has been nibbling into the earnings
of the companies, thereby distorting the operational dynamics for quite some
time post the weather-related events. Several insurers such as Hartford
Financial Services Inc. (NYSE:HIG), Allstate, PartnerRe and The Travelers saw
most or all of their earnings being washed away after incurring severe
catastrophe losses in 2011.

Although catastrophe losses moderated in the first nine months of 2012 and
helped the bottom line regain stability, Sandy is expected to erode insurers'
earnings once again. Recently, The Chubb Corp. (NYSE:CB) deferred its share
buyback program due to the inability to estimate the extent of loss related to
the recent superstorm. More insurers are expected to release hefty catastrophe
losses soon.

Based on the pros and cons, all the above-mentioned insurance companies carry
a Zacks Rank #3, which implies a short-term Hold rating. These stocks indicate
no clear directional pressure in the near term.

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