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Zurich Sees $200 Million of Earthquake-Related Claim Payments in Chile

Zurich Financial Services AG, Switzerland’s largest insurer, said it expects claims of about $200 million in the first quarter related to the earthquake that struck Chile in February.

The pretax figure is net of “reinsurance recoverables” and includes reinsurance reinstatement premiums, the company said in an e-mailed statement. Zurich will report first-quarter results on May 6.

The claims were higher than expected, Fabrizio Croce, a Zurich-based analyst with Kepler Capital Markets, said in a note to investors. “The claims are considerable, considering what we have seen so far for reinsurers.”

Munich Re and Swiss Reinsurance Co., the world’s largest reinsurers, have estimated losses for the insurance industry from the 8.8-magnitude quake, the world’s fifth strongest in a century, could run to $7 billion. They put their own exposure at about $546 million and $500 million, respectively.

Stockbroker Collins Stewart said today that Zurich may report a total of $420 million in claims from natural catastrophes and storms in the first quarter. The company “is likely to have picked up material losses from the severe winter in the northeast U.S., Ireland, the U.K. and part of continental Europe, on top of Xynthia storm damage in Germany and hail and typhoon damage in Australia,” London-based analyst Ben Cohen wrote in a note.

The Swiss insurer dropped 0.2 percent to 248.70 Swiss francs in Zurich, valuing the company at about 36.7 billion francs ($34.1 billion).

To contact the reporter on this story: Carolyn Bandel in Zurich at cbandel@bloomberg.net

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