Shares of Heritage Insurance rallied over 21 percent higher on Monday after initial reports from Florida revealed less damage from Hurricane Irma than anticipated.
The Clearwater, Florida-based insurer led a pack of local, small industry stocks higher earlier in the day, including moves 12 percent or more upward by shares of HCI Group based in Tampa, Universal Insurance in Fort Lauderdale, Federated National in Sunrise and Blue Capital Reinsurance in Pembroke, Bermuda.
"Hurricane Irma was tough, but it looks like it wasn't as bad as some expected," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. "Towards the close on Friday, you saw a bit of a sell-off as ... people braced for the worst."
Shares of reinsurers surged, as the companies could have been on the hook if damage to Florida were severe. Hamilton, Bermuda-based Aspen Insurance rose 9.4 percent, and Everest Re rose 4.3 percent on Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 closed 1.08 percent higher for the day, at 2488.11, a record.