Japan’s typhoons push Swiss Re’s 2018 claims bill to US$2.9bn

January 16 2019 by InsuranceAsia News Staff

Swiss Re estimates its preliminary combined global claims for 2018 as US$2.9 billion compared with US$4.7 billion in 2017.

The reinsurer’s estimate for the losses from September storms Typhoons Jebi and Trami in Japan increased by US$320 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, net of retrocession and before tax. This brought the total loss burden from major Japan events in 2018 to US$1.2 billion, net of retrocession and before tax.

Swiss Re estimates its preliminary claims burden from natural catastrophes in the fourth quarter at approximately US$1 billion, mainly affecting its reinsurance arm, net of retrocession and before tax. This included Sydney’s hailstorm on December 20.

The Camp and Woolsey fires in California also contributed to the claims burden. Breaking out on November 8 both fires raged over a week, claimed more than 85 lives and destroyed thousands of acres and over 20,000 buildings. Swiss Re expects an overall market loss for both fires of US$16 billion.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Michael, which made landfall just northwest of Mexico Beach in Florida on October 10, was the strongest storm to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew (1992). Swiss Re expects an overall industry loss for Hurricane Michael of US$8.5 billion.

Edouard Schmid, Swiss Re’s group chief underwriting officer, commented: “The last quarter of 2018 was severely impacted by natural catastrophes. In the US, Hurricane Michael was the strongest storm to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and in California, wildfires caused great damage as they also spread to urban areas. We are working closely with our clients to ensure affected people and communities are supported and able to get back on their feet as soon as possible.”

Large man-made events are expected to lead to a pre-tax claims burden of approximately US$300 million for the fourth quarter of 2018.

For the whole industry in 2018, Swiss Re is estimating global insured losses of US$81 billion.

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