Swiss Re Estimates $3.6B in Claims from U.S. Hurricanes & Mexican Quakes

Swiss Re, the world’s second-largest reinsurer, estimated its claims burden from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in the United States and from two earthquakes in Mexico at roughly $3.6 billion in the third quarter.

For the industry overall, Zurich-based Swiss Re estimated the total insured market losses from the hurricanes and earthquakes to be around $95 billion.

“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,” Chief Financial Officer David Cole said in a statement on Friday.

Of its claims burden, which is net of retrocession and before tax, around $175 million was from the earthquakes in Mexico.

Zurich Insurance Group estimated on Thursday the three hurricanes in the United States would trigger around $700 million in claims in the third quarter net of reinsurance and before tax.

Reinsurers like Swiss Re, Munich Re and Hannover Re act as a financial backstop forinsurance companies, helping them pay for large damage claims from hurricanes or earthquakes in exchange for part of the premiums.

They are ordinarily experts in managing risk and only rarely get caught off guard. Analysts have said the industry may need to take a fresh look at risk models as the planet warms and storms become more intense.

(Reporting by Joshua Franklin; editing by Michael Shields)

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