Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has published a report discussing the impact of hurricane Irene to re/insurers. They conclude that Irene will have a limited impact to re/insurers but as part of the overall losses suffered this year Irene is likely to play a part in the continuing upward pressure on rates. Whether that pressure results in upwards movement is still a moot point and likely requires another major event to really enforce any change.
S&P say that they do not expect hurricane Irene to have any impact on the re/insurance industries creditworthiness and expect to make few, if any, ratings changes on re/insurers. They believe it will have more impact on primary insurers than reinsurers as primary players often retain more risk at lower loss levels (perhaps another good reason for primary insurers to look at catastrophe bonds more seriously).
On catastrophe bonds, S&P say that despite the obvious exposure to the hurricane as so many cat bonds contain coverage for elements of U.S. east coast hurricane risk, they do not anticipate taking any ratings actions on any of the catastrophe bonds that they rate. They say that they will continue to monitor the aftermath of hurricane Irene and if that position changes and any cat bonds appear at risk they will update with comments.
The following catastrophe bonds that S&P rate cover states that were affected by hurricane Irene: