Swiss Re Says 'Extremely Powerful' Disasters Cost $3.6 Billion

Who Pays The Bill When Mother Nature Strikes?

Swiss Re AG said the cost to the firm of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the Mexico earthquakes will be about $3.6 billion excluding tax and coverage provided to other reinsurers.

Claims from the two earthquakes in Mexico are expected to be approximately $175 million, the Swiss insurer said, adding that estimates are more uncertain than usual and may be adjusted.

Swiss Re Chief Executive Officer Christian Mumenthaler described the recent natural catastrophes as "extremely powerful" in a statement on Friday. Hurricane Harvey hit Texas with Category 4 strength winds on Aug. 25, but its real impact was the torrential rains it unleashed on Houston and surrounding areas, dumping up to 50 inches in some places. Two weeks later, Irma cut power to at least 6.4 million people. Both storms displaced tens of thousands and disrupted businesses.

Swiss Re, based in Zurich, said it has "very strong capital position" and financial flexibility to support its clients. The company said earlier this year it wouldn’t make a decision on returning capital to shareholders this year until after the U.S. hurricane season, Chief Financial Officer David Cole said in August.

Zurich Insurance Group said yesterday it expects a loss after tax of $620 million on claims from U.S. hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

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