Allstate Corp., PartnerRe Ltd, Hartford Financial Services Inc., The Chubb Corp and the Travelers Companies Highlighted in the Zacks Analyst Blog

CHICAGO, Dec. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Allstate Corp (ALL), PartnerRe Ltd (PRE), Hartford Financial Services Inc. (HIG), The Chubb Corp. (CB) and The Travelers Companies(TRV).

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Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Four daily picks are offered free.

Here are highlights from Monday's Analyst Blog:

Sandy Insured Loss Hits $22B (revised)

Disaster analysis companies have pegged insured loss from the recent Hurricane Sandy to reach over $20 billion. This indicates skewed results for the insurance companies in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Accordingly, the risk modeling company AIR Worldwide has raised its insured loss estimate from the "superstorm" in the range of $16–22 billion, way higher than the prior guidance of $7–15 billion.

Another disaster analysis firm – Eqecat – fixed its insured loss projection at $20 billion, while it forecasts $50 billion in economic losses from the same catastrophe. One more firm – RMS – expects insured losses from Sandy to hit $25 billion. All the agencies believe that Sandy is the most damaging superstorm after Hurricane Katrina and Ike.

Consequently, some insurers such asAllstate Corp. (ALL) andPartnerRe Ltd. (PRE) have notified that the catastrophe losses from Sandy are higher than their absorbing capacity. Recently, Allstate stated that it expects pre-tax catastrophe losses of over $150 million for October 2012. The majority of these losses are attributable to superstorm Sandy that hit the Northeast, where Allstate owns about 10.7% of the market share.

Over the past few years, catastrophe losses have not only been augmenting the claims payments of the insurers but also has been nibbling into the earnings of the companies, thereby distorting the operational dynamics for quite some time post the weather-related events. Several insurers such as Hartford Financial Services Inc. (HIG), Allstate and PartnerRe saw most or all of their earnings being washed away after incurring severe catastrophe losses in 2011.

Although catastrophe losses moderated in the first nine months of 2012 and helped the bottom line regain stability, Sandy is expected to erode insurers' earnings once again. Recently, The Chubb Corp. (CB) deferred its share buyback program due to the inability to estimate the extent of loss related to the recent superstorm. More insurers are expected to release hefty catastrophe losses soon.

Based on the pros and cons, all the above-mentioned insurance companies carry a Zacks Rank #3, which implies a short-term Hold rating. These stocks indicate no clear directional pressure in the near term.

This press release is being reissued because it incorrectly included The Travelers Companies (TRV).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Four daily picks are offered free.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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