Japan: Insurers not expecting huge bill

17th March 2011

But the site quotes the Reinsurance Association of America suggesting that only 14 to 17 per cent of Japanese homes have private earthquake insurance with most relying on a Japanese government back stop.

Once again however the nuclear situation remains a wild card when it comes to cost estimates.

As Insurance Networking reports here, some US insurers have exposure due to operations in Japan including Aflac, Met Life and The Hartford.

The latter still has exposure despite closing to new business in Japan in 2009 around the same time it closed in the UK. Met Life also added some exposure when it finalised its purchase of Alico from bailed out AIG.

Prudential in the UK told the wires this week that it had been scaling back its Japan operations and had written no new policies since early 2010.

Insurance Networking also reported on the rating agencies verdict here with Standard & Poor's more downbeat than Fitch about Japanese insurers' ability to withstand the claims.

This report from Investors Chronicle says that the big reinsurers Swiss Re and Munich Re may bear the brunt of global losses but various Lloyds syndicates will be hit too. 

But long term rates will harden and it actually sees a buy signal.

It gives its view here.

"While [Lloyds underwriters] will face painful short-term losses, that leaves them looking too cheaply rated given the earnings potential ahead as rates rise. Dividend payouts, typically impressive at Lloyd's vehicles, are also thought by analysts to be safe. Certainly, investing now is risky. But for those with courage and patience, then buying carefully selected Lloyd's shares now and holding them until they re-rate as rates rise, could prove lucrative."

See also: Investing in misery – Commentary suggesting the Japanese disaster presents a buying opportunity for investors has been slammed by some readers as distasteful.

To receive our free weekly email sign up here.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *