Amsterdam Financial Services Correspondent
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Oct 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy losses worse than Irene: disaster forecasters

By Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – Hurricane Sandy appears to have easily caused more losses than last year’s Hurricane Irene, but final totals will be hard to come by for some time because of the scale of the disaster, catastrophe forecasting companies said on Tuesday.

Sandy left millions without power, caused widespread flooding that may shut New York City’s subways for days, and killed potentially dozens of people up and down the U.S. east coast.

Oct 29, 2012

Insurers could withstand $10 billion Sandy hit: analysts

By Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – Hurricane Sandy has the potential to cause some of the largest losses the global insurance industry has faced this year, but nothing that would strain insurers financially aside from hurting earnings this quarter, analysts said on Monday.

Disaster modeling company Eqecat, used by the industry to forecast storm exposure, said Monday there was no way to assess what kind of losses Sandy might ultimately cause until after landfall sometime early Tuesday.

Oct 28, 2012

Insurers prepare for impact of Hurricane Sandy

BOSTON (Reuters) – Insurers say they are making the usual preparations for a hurricane – activating claims teams, staging adjusters near the locations most likely to be affected and generally getting ready to pay for a potentially huge volume of losses.

“We plan for weather events such as this, so we feel well prepared with resources strategically positioned to quickly assist customers who may be impacted,” Travelers spokesman Matthew Bordonaro said in an early Sunday e-mail.

Oct 25, 2012

Experts fear Hurricane Sandy could do more damage than Irene

By Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – As Hurricane Sandy makes its way toward the eastern seaboard of the United States, disaster experts and meteorologists warn that the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states face dangerous winds and heavy rains that could trigger flooding in the coming days.

Some forecasters even say that Sandy has the potential to be a multibillion dollar disaster greater than last year’s Hurricane Irene, though it may be too soon to tell if it has the power and trajectory to fulfill that worst-case scenario.

Oct 19, 2012

CEOs’ rosy spin whitewashes weak results

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Corporate America has been talking a good game this earnings season, but a closer look shows the results are not nearly as strong as CEO optimism might lead investors to believe.

In fact, a number of companies are coming up short on either earnings or revenue as measured against Wall Street estimates, even as their leaders try to paint a picture of steady returns and solid prospects for 2013. Some investors say earnings expectations have been managed so low they are easy to beat, even if sales come up short.

Oct 18, 2012

Sprint Nextel assumes majority stake in Clearwire

By Ben Berkowitz and Nicola Leske

(Reuters) – Wireless carrier Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it has acquired a majority interest in Clearwire Corp (CLWR.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) by buying a stake from the company’s founder.

A similar attempt by Sprint to take control of Clearwire last week was scuttled by a dispute with Intel and other investors.

Oct 18, 2012

Travelers posts record profit; shares set all-time high

Oct 18 (Reuters) – Travelers Cos Inc posted a record
quarterly operating profit as prices rose and losses from
natural disasters fell sharply, the property insurance company
said on Thursday.

Travelers was able to increase rates in all business lines
and also retain customers, a strong sign for the rest of the
industry. The company has been a bellwether of insurers’ ability
to raise pricing after years of weakness.

Sep 28, 2012

Fed names banks that tapped discount window in Q3 2010

By Alister Bull and Ben Berkowitz

(Reuters) – The Federal Reserve on Friday named the banks that borrowed at its discount window during the third quarter of 2010, but the period showed very low levels of activity and none of the biggest Wall Street firms had turned to the facility for help.

Some of the decline in discount window borrowing may have reflected banks steering clear because they knew their actions would be disclosed, albeit with a two-year lag, once the Dodd-Frank financial reform law was passed.

Sep 20, 2012

Forceful QE3 needed to aid economy–Fed’s Rosengren

, Sept 20 (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve’s new
stimulus policy is essential to get the U.S. recovery back on
track and to avoid damaging economic stagnation, a top Fed
official said on Thursday.

Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said he strongly
supported the U.S. central bank’s decision last week to launch a
potentially massive program of asset purchases, arguing its
risks are considerably smaller and more manageable than doing
nothing.

Sep 20, 2012

“Forceful” QE3 needed to avoid stagnation: Fed’s Rosengren

QUINCY, Massachusetts (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve’s “forceful” new policy accommodation is essential to get the U.S. recovery back on track and to avoid a damaging economic stagnation, a top U.S. Fed official said on Thursday.

Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said he strongly supported the U.S. central bank’s decision last week to launch a potentially massive program of asset purchases, arguing its risks are considerably smaller and more manageable than doing nothing.

    • About Ben

      "Ben Berkowitz covers the insurance industry in New York City. He rejoined Reuters in Amsterdam in May 2009, covering the Dutch banking system and economy. He originally worked for Reuters in Los Angeles and New York from 2001 to 2006 covering everything from video games to oil. In between he was business editor at AOL, head of the editing desk at AP Business News and managing editor of Fidelity.com."
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