Zurich reveals cost impact of hurricanes

Insurance group Zurich today estimated that claims arising from hurricanes Gustav and Ike would cost it around $600m (€470m).

Insurance group Zurich today estimated that claims arising from hurricanes Gustav and Ike would cost it around $600m (€470m).

Analysts believe the September storms, which hit the Caribbean and the United States, left the industry with losses of up to $25bn (€19.6bn), although Zurich said its own exposure was “very manageable”.

The company said the pre-tax estimate comprised $55m (€43m) for Gustav and $545m (€427m) for Ike. The charges will be recorded in the group’s nine month results due to be released next month.

Zurich’s chief financial officer Dieter Wemmer said: “The steps we have taken to proactively manage our exposures to natural catastrophes in the US limited our losses to a very manageable level.

“It is also a testament to the strength of our balance sheet that we can absorb these losses and still maintain such a healthy solvency position.”

The Swiss insurance group, founded in 1872, employs around 60,000 people with customers in more than 170 countries.

Last week, insurance market Lloyd’s of London said the hurricanes would cost it around £1.3bn (€1.63bn), which it also said was a manageable exposure.

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