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One To Watch: Insurers Get Breath Of Fresh Air As Irma Quietens Down

By Kathleen BrooksStock MarketsSep 11, 2017 16:05
One To Watch: Insurers Get Breath Of Fresh Air As Irma Quietens Down
By Kathleen Brooks   |  Sep 11, 2017 16:05
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What: Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to a category 1 storm and as it passes over Florida initial estimates of the cost of the damage have also been downgraded. Whereas initial fears were that this would be the most costly rebuilding programme in history, it looks like the repair costs estimate from Irma may be around the $20-$40 billion mark, which is well within the price range for recent natural disasters. Although the clean-up in Texas after Hurricane Harvey is likely to cost well over $100bn, the fact that Irma didn’t deliver a double blow to the insurance sector has helped the share price of some of the big hitters in global insurance surge at the start of the week:

Everest Re (NYSE:RE), AIG (NYSE:AIG), Zurich (DE:ZURN), Allianz (LON:0M6S), and AXA (PA:AXAF) have all seen their share prices gap higher on the back of the latest Irma news, with Everest Re leading the way for a more than 5% gain so far today. The London insurers have had more modest gains, Legal & General Group (LON:LGEN) is up 1% today while Aviva (LON:AV) is up 0.5%. The muted response this side of the Atlantic is likely due to the British insurers having less exposure to Florida insurance claims.

How: We believe that US insurers including Everest Re and AIG could continue to benefit from news that Irma is unlikely to be too costly for the insurers. Warren Buffet’s fund, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKa), has also seen a 1.5% increase today, due to the investment guru’s well known exposure to insurance and reinsurance firms, which is a clear sign that investors are warming to insurers now that the latest hurricane risk has died down. Both companies have had a torrid summer as investors have sold off US insurance shares, partly in preparation for hurricane season.

Although both Everest Re and AIG have recouped some of last week’s losses, they both remain some way off of their peaks reached in July. At mid-point in trading on Monday, Everest Re is giving back some earlier gains, however, if it can break above the 200-day sma at $239.88 then we could see back to the $250 level, which also corresponds with the 61.8% retracement of the July high to last week’s low, see the chart below.

Obviously if we see further storms brewing in the region then these gains could be used as a selling opportunity. But for now if the weather in the US Southern states manages to calm then we could see AIG play catch up to Everest Re in the short term as AIG’s analysts’ rating is a buy compared with hold for Everest Re.

Source: City Index and Bloomberg
Source: City Index and Bloomberg

Disclaimer: The information and opinions in this report are for general information use only and are not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any currency or CFD contract. All opinions and information contained in this report are subject to change without notice. This report has been prepared without regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any particular recipient. Any references to historical price movements or levels is informational based on our analysis and we do not represent or warrant that any such movements or levels are likely to reoccur in the future. While the information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, the author does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness, nor does the author assume any liability for any direct, indirect or consequential loss that may result from the reliance by any person upon any such information or opinions.

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One To Watch: Insurers Get Breath Of Fresh Air As Irma Quietens Down

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One To Watch: Insurers Get Breath Of Fresh Air As Irma Quietens Down

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Vedha Krishnamoorthy
Vedha Krishnamoorthy Sep 11, 2017 16:52
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