Hurricane Katrina may turn out to be the largest insured loss in U.S. history, surpassing 9/11 and Hurricane Andrew, according to Fitch Ratings.While cautioning that it will be "a long time" before insured loss estimates can be made with any certainty, the rating agency said it now expects insured losses to be closer to the high end than the low end of published estimates, which have ranged from $9 billion to $25 billion. Insured losses totaled $20.1 billion from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and $20.5 billion from Hurricane Andrew, Fitch said. Among the factors cited by Fitch in support of its belief that insured losses may be the highest ever are: the consequences of the levee breach in New Orleans; widespread business interruption losses that are now expected; looting-related losses; and potential environmental liabilities. The rating agency said it does not expect insolvencies among larger insurers, but that some "could face downgrades." Fitch can be found online at http://www.fitchratings.com.

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