Hurricanes push Swiss Re into red in first nine months

 02 Nov 2017 - 11:26

Hurricanes push Swiss Re into red in first nine months
File Photo.

AFP

Zurich: Swiss reinsurance giant Swiss Re said Thursday that hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and the Mexican earthquakes pushed it deeply into the red in the first nine months of this year.

Swiss Re said in a statement that it chalked up a net loss of $468 million (402 million euros) in the period from January to September, compared with net profit of $3.0 billion a year earlier.

The loss "was primarily driven by the previously communicated expected insurance claims in the aftermath of the recent Atlantic hurricanes, the earthquakes in Mexico as well as Cyclone Debbie in Australia and floods in Peru in the first half of the year," the group explained.

Swiss Re said the insurance claims from hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the Mexico earthquakes amounted to $3.6 billion. 

And "overall, Swiss Re expects its insurance claims from natural catastrophes for the first nine months of 2017 to amount to approximately $4.0 billion at a group level."

"The severe natural catastrophes we have experienced so far this year have clearly impacted our results," said chief executive Christian Mumenthaler.

"At the same time, we are able to absorb these losses and join forces with our clients to help affected people and businesses in getting back on their feet. We believe we have the financial strength to respond to potential market developments." 

Reinsurers provide insurance to insurance companies which need to spread the risks of the policies they provide to clients.

Gross premium income declined by 5.1 percent to $26.6 billion in the January-September period.

Hurricane Harvey battered Texas and parts of Louisiana in late August, causing severe damage to property and paralysing 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 had already estimated that total insured losses for those events could amount to $95 billion for the entire insurance sector. And the final cost could rise even further. 

Last week, German rival Munich Re had said it expected to book a third-quarter loss of 1.4 billion euros.