Despite the solid report in October, the insurers dropped sharply in the markets.
Whether you call it the Superstorm or the Frankenstorm, the impact of Sandy on insurance news has been a significant one, particularly considering the damage it had on the stocks of insurers at the start of November.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell by 139 points as more information about Sandy’s costs was revealed.
Of course, the falling stocks were not limited exclusively to insurance news, as many large companies – such as Verizon Communications – that are based in Manhattan still find themselves without electricity. However, because the impact on insurers is both direct and indirect, that industry has seen a massive hit, even though the rest of October’s figures had been very strong.
No matter how it is taken, the insurance news from the storm is, unfortunately, not good.
According to the Cabot Money Management president, Rob Lutts, “The information coming out from the economic impact of Sandy is a negative.” He went on to share that “I think the markets are trying to digest that and understand that, so there is a little bit of uncertainty.”
The problem with the insurance news is that this industry feels the impact of the Superstorm most acutely, as it will rapidly work its way through the income of the insurers as they manage the massive number of claims that they receive. This has caused Barclays analysts to slash their estimates for Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., while those at Raymond James have decreased their own for Allstate.
Liam McGee, the Hartford Chairman, spoke with investors over a conference call in order to discuss the insurance news regarding the costs of the storm, which are only just now starting to be identified. He said that it remains far too early for any accurate data and projections to be used. Adjusters had to wait until Thursday to take their first steps into Long Island, one of the areas that saw the greatest impact of the storm.
Across the board, the insurance news isn’t good for stocks, with Genworth Financial Inc. falling by 3 percent (16 cents) to $6.06, American International Group Inc. fell by 7 percent ($2.52) to $32.68, Allstate came down by 1.25 percent (49 cents) to $38.56, and the Hartford dropped by 3 percent (66 cents) to $21.26.