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Migdal Drops Most in Week in Tel Aviv as Fire Rages

Migdal Insurance & Financial Holding Ltd., Israel’s biggest insurance company, dropped the most in a week as a fire that killed 41 people raged for a fourth day.

Migdal decreased 1.9 percent, the most since Nov. 28, to 7.116 shekels as of the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv.

The fire, which began Dec. 2 and destroyed more than 10,000 acres of forest, has been described by Israeli officials as the worst in the country’s history. The daily Ma’ariv estimated fire damage at 985 million shekels ($272 million), without saying how it did the calculation. The government doesn’t yet have an estimate, said Shlomi Sheffer, a Finance Ministry spokesman.

“The local insurance companies may be negatively impacted by the fire,” said Meir Slater, an analyst at DS Brokerage Ltd. in Tel Aviv. “The impact, estimated at millions of shekels, will lower the companies’ value by about 2 percent to 3 percent.”

Most damage to private property is insured and the insurance companies are covered by reinsurance policies, the Finance Ministry said on Dec. 3. Most of the damage to public property is also insured, it said.

The Finance Ministry has allotted several million shekels to help local municipalities, minister Yuval Steinitz’s office said in an e-mailed statement today. The Welfare Ministry has allotted about 500 million shekels to municipalities hit by the fire, said Pnina Ben Ami, a spokeswoman.

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