Last week I offered my susbscribers examples of the 2nd and 3rd sectors of the FIRE (Finance, Insurance & Real Estate) group that we see getting burned. I spent much of last year on the "F"portion of FIRE. Subscribers should reference the last 5 or so documents in the Commercial & Investment Banks section of the subscription content area. I then illustrated a Dutch real estate company facing the FIRE (again subscribers reference the latest submissions in Commercial Real Estate), and I will be offering US REIT entities at risk in the next day or two. Of particular interest was my explicit warning on the insurance industry two weeks ago, both publicly and to subscribers, which included a full forensic analysis of the company we thought would be make the best short candidate as the feces hits the fan blades. See You Can Rest Assured That The Insurance Industry Is In For Guaranteed Losses! and Our Next Forensic Analysis Subject Is In The Insurance Industry for more on my opinion on such. I even appeared on CNBC yesterday, apparently the only investor/analyst/pundit warning on the FIRE sector for 2012. I outlined my summary outlook for 2012 here: Reggie Middleton on CNBC StreetSigns Sees 2012 As Reluctant/Manipulated Continuation of Q1 2009… The actual CNBC appearance is available below...
From this point on, start this YouTube video and let it play in the background as you go through the balance of this post. It''ll help set the mood...
So, the day following the CNBC appearance warning of the risks to the FIRE sector, and specific risks to the insurance industry in the guise of combined ratios bumping heads with massive investment losses on sovereign and financial entity debt, guess what appears in the headlines of those very same media outlets??? Insurers’ 2011 Catastrophe Losses Hit Record:
Several “devastating” earthquakes and a large number of weather-related catastrophes cost insurers $105 billion, more than double the natural-disaster figure for 2010 and exceeding the 2005 record of $101 billion, the world’s biggest reinsurer said in an e-mailed statement today. Competitor Swiss Re earlier estimated that the industry’s claims from natural catastrophes reached $103 billion.
Global economic losses jumped to $380 billion last year, surpassing the previous record of $220 billion in 2005, with the quakes in New Zealand in February and Japan in March accounting for almost two-thirds of the losses, Munich Re said.
“We had to contend with events with return periods of once every 1,000 years or even higher at the locations concerned,” Torsten Jeworrek, Munich Re’s board member responsible for global reinsurance, said in the statement. “We are prepared for such extreme situations.”
In Beware Even Those "Safe" Insurer's Portfolios I illustrated to my susbscribers the risks that insurance investors face. Munich Re said 2011 was the costliest year on record, but they failed to state how difficult it would be to handle said record losses with additional and potentially greater losses on bond and FI porfolios. Munich Re's net exposure to sovereign debt of PIIGS as % of tangible equity at the end of 2009 = 41.2%. Damn! Many compmanies are worse than that (and I'll delve into those a little later). Now, by revisiting the insurance primer that I offered in You Can Rest Assured That The Insurance Industry Is In For Guaranteed Losses! you can see that combined ratios may very well break 100 while investment losses spike. Somebody may not get their claims funded, eh?
Professional Subscribers, reference the addendum to the Sovereign Debt Exposure of European Insurers and Reinsurers (439.61 kB 2010-05-19 01:56:52) whcih can be found online here: Insurer and Reinsurer Sovereign Debt Exposure Worksheets - Professional