Ricardo A. Espino
President & CEO

Letter from our President

And just like that, there goes 2020!  Welcome in 2021!  So much has transpired since the last issue (Summer 2020) of the Rising Star, that it is difficult to know where to begin. For starters, and probably most important, the official closing of the acquisition of Centauri by Applied Underwriters took place on January 1, 2021 after receiving all the formal regulatory approvals and consents.

Welcome in 2021, with a fresh start, a new beginning, with new ownership and new support. Along with new ownership comes new expectations, and our teams are hard at work to make sure we exceed those expectations as we embark on this new chapter in our history. 

December 1, 2020 brought an end to the historic and impactful hurricane season in the Southeast.   Louisiana, especially, bore the brunt of the storms with Hurricanes Laura, Delta, and finally Zeta all generating significant losses in the residential property market. If that was not enough, Hurricanes Sally and Eta both impacted Florida, while Hurricanes Sally and Zeta impacted Alabama and Mississippi. Let us not forget Hurricane Hanna which impacted Texas during this same season as well. By all accounts, the 2020 Hurricane Season shattered many records and added to what was already an unprecedented year in history. To put this year’s Hurricane season in context:

  • 30 named storms with 39mph or greater, including 13 hurricanes, and six major hurricanes

  • 12 separate storms made landfall in the contiguous U.S. in 2020 beating the record set in 1916 of 9

  • Of those 12, five directly impacted Louisiana setting a record for most landfalls in a single state in a season

  • Ten storms formed in the month of September, the most in any month on record

  • 2020 was only the second year in history that Greek letter names were used as storm names (2005 was previous year)

  • Hurricane Iota attained Category 5 intensity on November 16th, making it the strongest storm to occur so late in the season

  • 2020 marked a record fifth consecutive year with at least one Category 5 hurricane

  • 2020 marked a record sixth consecutive year with a “named storm” occurring prior to the official start of hurricane season (June 1)

The combination of much-warmer-than normal Atlantic Ocean temperatures in combination with low vertical sheer (caused by continued La Nina conditions) were the major contributors to the active season along with other short-term factors.

The southeast market and its carriers all were left dealing with unprecedented losses. This, while at the same time dealing with a hardening reinsurance market and continued development of loss trends in its attritional portfolios, mostly stemming from water and roofing losses. Carriers were already busy managing the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic and creating workarounds to not only keep insureds and our adjusters safe during the inspection process but working to maintain timely and efficient claim settlement processes. This all was quite an undertaking.

For all that occurred in 2020, especially during the historic 3rd and 4th quarters due to the hurricane activity, we are excited to be where we are today. With a tremendous balance sheet and ownership behind Centauri, we are poised to do great things in 2021. We will continue, as we always have, to service our markets, provide capacity to our agency partners and strive for best-in-class service. We have many exciting events occurring in 2021 and we cannot wait to share those with all of you as we begin to finalize and execute on them all.

Happy New Year and please help me welcome in 2021!