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Insured losses from hurricanes, Mexico quakes $95 bn: Swiss Re estimate

A woman raises her clenched fist during a tribute for the victims of Mexico’s September 19 earthquake in front of a collapsed building, in Mexico City, on October 19, 2017. One month after the earthquake that jolted Mexico on September 19, flattening dozens of buildings across Mexico City and leaving 369 dead, many people are only just starting to pick up the pieces. / AFP PHOTO / RONALDO SCHEMIDT

Total insured market losses from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and two earthquakes in Mexico this year came to around $95 billion, reinsurance group Swiss Re announced Friday.

The Zurich-based company estimated its own pre-tax claims burdens from three hurricanes and two quakes at some $3.6 billion (3.05 billion euros) in the third quarter.

The world’s second largest reinsurer behind Munich Re based on assumed premiums cautioned that the estimates “are subject to a higher than usual degree of uncertainty and may need to be subsequently adjusted as the claims assessment process continues.”

“The most recent natural catastrophes have been extremely powerful,” CEO Christian Mumenthaler said in a statement.

Hurricane Harvey battered Texas and parts of Louisiana in late August, causing severe damage to property and paralyzing the country’s fourth-largest city, Houston, with major flooding.

In September, Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys archipelago and Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico.

Two powerful earthquakes hit Mexico in September, leaving hundreds dead.

“Swiss Re estimates the total insured market losses of the industry caused by these events to be approximately $95 billion,” it said.

The group said that approximately $175 million of its own claims burden, which is net of retrocession and before tax, was related to the quakes.

Chief financial officer David Cole, said: “Swiss Re maintains a very strong capital position and high financial flexibility to support our clients’ needs, respond to market developments and execute on our capital management priorities” despite the challenges posed by recent events.

Another Swiss group, Zurich Insurance, said Thursday it expects to receive around $700 million in insurance claims net of tax related to hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in the third quarter.

Sector number three Hannover Re said Thursday it expected premiums to rise in the wake of the recent spate of natural disasters as reinsurers underwrite large-scale liability risks, purchasing policies from multiple insurers to spread risk, share premiums and limit total potential losses.



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