London-listed shares in Markel’s ILS fund manager CatCo slid this morning after the carrier alluded to uncertainty about last year’s catastrophes in its first-half results for 2018.
In April, CatCo again upped its loss reserves against 2017’s catastrophes, which - as it stands - are expected to cost the firm 41.4 percent of net asset value.
But today, the firm warned of uncertainty around the $140bn industry loss bill for the events which included a trio of Atlantic hurricanes as well as wildfires that scorched swathes of California.
“The uncertainty remaining on industry losses from these events is beyond what would normally be expected at this point in time following a major loss event occurrence,” CatCo said.
“As a result, a significant level of uncertainty in connection with the 2017 event loss reserves is expected to persist through the remainder of 2018.”
It said that a number of traditional carriers and ILS funds had increased loss reserves for the events, in particular Hurricane Irma which pounded parts of the Caribbean and the US state of Florida.
It noted that PCS had upped its loss estimate by 19 percent since it first published expectations for the cost of last year’s events.
“In April 2018, insurance market information indicated that further loss creep was likely to occur, particularly related to Hurricane Irma,” CatCo said explaining its decision to bolster reserves.
“In particular, higher than expected loss adjustment expenses and increases to losses in the Caribbean indicated that initial industry loss impact for Irma was potentially underestimated.”
CatCo raised an estimated $2.5bn from investors in Q4 2017 while estimating a significantly lower 2017 cat loss burden.
In today’s results, CatCo said: “The relatively benign start to the 2018 portfolio year should bring much-needed relief to shareholders following the largest insured loss year of all time, in global terms, in 2017.”
“Catastrophic activity has remained at relatively low levels during the first half of 2018, allowing the 2018 portfolio to deliver a strong performance throughout the period with no significant insured losses.”
The firm said that it had “significantly improved” contract terms since last year’s events, which - at the time - were modeled at a 1-in-200 year occurrence. Now, CatCo said, on the new terms they are modelled as a 1-in-700 year event.
It said that at the end of June, its portfolio was 30 percent larger than it was at the same period in 2017. Meanwhile, it noted that pricing was at the same level as the beginning of the year, which it said marked a 43 percent uplift on 2017 rates.
Shares were down about 1.5 percent in intraday trading in London, changing hands at around $0.62 a piece.