Tornadoes latest catastrophe to hit insurer's books

June 29, 2011

Baldwin & Lyons Inc. expects to lose another $10 million due to worldwide catastrophes that occurred in the first half of the year, the Indianapolis-based property and casualty insurer reported Tuesday.

The tornadoes that hit Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Joplin, Mo., are the latest events that caused damage to the auto and trucking fleets Baldwin & Lyons insures. The company estimates the tornadoes will yield $6.5 million in losses, even after tax considerations, during the second quarter, which ends June 30.

On top of that, Baldwin & Lyons said it will record another $3.6 million in second-quarter losses caused by a February earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the March earthquake in Sendai, Japan, which caused a nuclear scare.

The earthquakes, along with flooding in Australia, already cost Baldwin $14.2 million during the first quarter, leading the company to a $15.2 million quarterly loss, or $1.02 per share.

During the first quarter the year before, Baldwin & Lyons made a profit of $545,000.

The estimated losses in 2011 already put Baldwin & Lyons ahead of a record-setting 2010, in which the company paid out $24 million, after taxes, to repair damage caused by an earthquake in Chile and windstorms in Australia and Europe.

In a statement, Baldwin cautioned that its catastrophic loss estimates are based on its discussions with its reinsurance companies and client brokers, and rely heavily on modeling. The actual losses could turn out to be different from the estimates.

Baldwin & Lyons will report its second quarter financial results on Aug. 4.



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