Swiss Re to Post ‘Large’ Q3 Losses from Italy Bridge Collapse, Natural Disasters

By and | October 18, 2018

Swiss Re AG said it will post relatively “large” losses from claims in the third quarter, as man-made disasters including the collapse of a bridge in Italy add to damage from storms.

Natural disaster claims, mainly from Japan and North America, totaled $1.1 billion in the period, the reinsurer said in a statement from Zurich. Man-made losses, including from the collapse of a motorway bridge in Genoa, Italy, that killed 43 people, added $300 million.

“This is clearly more than expected by the market,” said Vontobel analyst Stefan Schuermann, who is lowering full-year earnings estimates. “Swiss Re has already more than achieved its estimated full-year natural catastrophe budget of $1.1 billion, with Hurricane Michael to add another charge in the fourth quarter.”

The estimate includes claims of $500 million for Jebi, the strongest typhoon to strike Japan since 1993. Overall, natural disaster claims have dropped sharply this year after a record for the industry last year that allowed insurers to increase some prices. Cumulative claims for the first nine months remain in line with expectations, Swiss Re said Thursday.

Shares in the world’s second-largest reinsurer fell as much as 1.5 percent before reversing losses and trading 0.6 percent higher at 9:45 a.m. in Zurich. Munich Re AG, the largest reinsurer, rose 0.1 percent.

Munich Re also expects relatively large claims for the quarter, from natural and man-made disasters, according to a person briefed on the matter. Unlike Swiss Re, the firm hasn’t issued a warning, suggesting the impact may not be material enough.

A spokesman for Munich Re declined to comment on the size of claims and said the company will report all figures when it publishes third-quarter results on Nov. 7.

Storms, Floods

Swiss Re is scheduled to publish its nine-month earnings report on Nov. 1. First-half net income fell to $1 billion from $1.2 billion a year earlier mainly due to changes in U.S. accounting rules.

Large losses from natural catastrophes such as such as windstorms, earthquakes, hurricanes and floods at the insurer’s property and casualty unit totaled $3.7 billion a year ago, according to a company spokeswoman.

Excluding last year, the last time Swiss Re reported quarterly claims of more than $1 billion at the unit was in 2013.

Swiss Re said the claims burden will also partially be carried by the corporate solutions unit.

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