Swiss Re takes big blow from catastrophes

Earnings report shows the full impact of hurricanes, earthquakes and more

Swiss Re takes big blow from catastrophes

Insurance News

By Bethan Moorcraft

Swiss Re has reported a Group net loss of US$468 million for the first nine months of 2017, following the recent hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and the Mexico earthquakes.

Property and Casualty (P&C) Reinsurance and Corporate Solutions’ results were hit hardest by the natural catastrophe events, which the Group expects will generate US$3.6 billion in insurance claims. P&C Re reported a net loss of US$652 million and Corporate Solutions had a US$762 million net loss. 

Life and Health Reinsurance generated strong results of US$741 million net income and Life Capital has reported a gross cash generation of US$789 million and a net income of US$152 million.

Overall, Swiss Re has maintained a strong capital position and high financial flexibility and, as a result, the reinsurer will launch its public share buy-back programme of up to CHF 1 billion on November 03.

“The severe natural catastrophes we have experienced so far this year have clearly impacted our results,” said Christian Mumenthaler, CEO, Swiss Re Group. “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.  

“This shows that our strategy to ensure superior capitalisation at all times is paying off. We believe we have the financial strength to respond to potential market developments and we continue to stay committed to creating long-term shareholder value.”

Swiss Re’s nine-month net loss of US$468 million contrasts with its net income of US$3 billion for the same period in 2016. This decline was primarily driven by the expected insurance claims in the aftermath of the recent Atlantic hurricanes, the earthquakes in Mexico as well as Cyclone Debbie in Australia and New Zealand and the floods in Peru in the first half of the year.

Overall, the global reinsurer expects its insurance claims from natural catastrophes for the first nine months of 2017 to amount to approximately US$4 billion at a Group level, with around US$3 billion being incurred by P&C Re and approximately US$1 billion by Corporate Solutions.

Related stories:
Swiss Re announces new casualty and financial lines head for North America
Zurich and Swiss Re outline post-hurricanes claims estimates

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