2011 U.S. Prop/Casualty Catastrophe Losses: $38.6 Billion through September

These losses were 140 percent of the losses during the first nine months of last year, according to A.M. Best Co.'s estimate.

A.M. Best Co. estimates catastrophe-related losses experienced by the U.S. property/casualty industry through the first nine months of 2011 were $38.6 billion, up by 140 percent from the same period one year earlier.

The vast majority of the losses in 2011 resulted from tornadoes and hailstorms in April and May, according to the company's analysis. Hurricane Irene losses were considerable, but most of the damage was caused by flooding, which was either not covered by homeowners' policies or was insured by the National Flood Insurance Program; NFIP losses are not included in the 2011 insured loss estimate.

The figure represents estimated total net pretax accident-year catastrophe-related losses during the first nine months of 2011. It is $22.5 billion higher than the estimated $16.1 billion reported during the first nine months of 2010. Total net pretax accident year catastrophe-related losses in 2010 were an estimated $19.6 billion, according to the company, which was founded in 1899. It is an insurance rating and information source.

A.M. Best said it believes the overall industry has the capital to effectively absorb the losses.

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