Munich Re Sees 1-Billion Euro Profit in First Quarter

Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer, said profit in the first quarter was “close to 1 billion euros” ($1.3 billion) after a slight increase in prices and no major natural catastrophes.

“We had a good start to the current year,” Chief Executive Officer Nikolaus von Bomhard said in a copy of a speech handed to reporters at an annual shareholders’ meeting in Munich today. “Despite a strong supply in capacity and thus keen competition, we succeeded in slightly increasing the price level.”

Reinsurers such as Munich Re and Zurich-based Swiss Re AG are seeking to bolster profit this year partly by investing in higher-yielding assets such as property after returns from bonds declined. Last year, the firms benefited from fewer losses from natural catastrophes and a market rally.

Munich Re declined 0.3 percent to 155.55 euros at 10:46 a.m. in Frankfurt, paring earlier losses of as much as 1.2 percent and valuing the company at 27.9 billion euros. The Bloomberg Europe 500 Insurance Index fell 0.1 percent.

Munich Re said profit in the year as a whole will be little changed at “close to” 3 billion euros, reiterating an estimate it made last month. First-quarter results should not “simply be extrapolated for the year as a whole,” von Bomhard said in a statement.

“We do not expect any rapid and appreciable rise in capital markets interest rates in 2013,” he said. “This means that regular income from investments will tend to fall further.”

The estimated first-quarter disaster bill in Europe was $1.8 billion as heavy snowfall, sub-freezing temperatures, high winds, ice and flooding spurred claims, according to a report by reinsurance broker Aon Benfield three weeks ago.

Natural disasters caused $77 billion in global insured losses in 2012, down from $119 billion the previous year, according to Swiss Re.

Munich Re is due to report first-quarter earnings May 7.

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