Natural disasters saddle Swiss Re with $1.1 bn claims

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Zurich (AFP)

Swiss reinsurance giant Swiss Re said Thursday that it had received over $1 billion in claims after recent natural disasters, including powerful typhoons in Japan, and hurricanes and wildfires in North America.

Swiss Re said in a statement that it chalked up around $1.1 billion (955 million euros) in preliminary claims from natural disasters alone during the third quarter.

Typhoon Jebi, which killed 11 people and injured 600 when it hit Japan in early September and was the most powerful typhoon to strike the country in a quarter of a century, caused around $6 billion in insured losses, Swiss Re said.

The Swiss reinsurance company said its share of claims from that disaster alone was expected to tick in at around $500 million.

The claims burden from Hurricane Florence, which devastated parts of the mid-Atlantic US coast in mid-September meanwhile caused some $4 billion in insured losses, Swiss Re said, adding that it expected to be saddles with around $120 million of those claims.

Among other disasters weighing down the company's balance sheet with an additional $500 million in claims during the third quarter was Typhoon Trami, which hit Japan in late September, and the Carr wildfire that ravaged parts of northern California in August.

"While the third quarter losses are large for an individual quarter for Swiss Re, the cumulative losses for the first nine months are broadly in line with year-to-date expectations," the company said.

Swiss Re said also recorded "a significant increase in man-made losses" during the quarter.

It said "multiple man-made disasters ... either occurred or deteriorated" during the three-month period, including the Genoa motorway bridge in Italy and the Ituango dam flooding in Colombia, which together landed it with some $300 million in claims.