Disasters to cost global insurers $95bn

Insurers are expected to take a total hit of $95bn as a result of a hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and earthquakes in Mexico, according to the world's second largest reinsurer Swiss Re.

The Zurich-based business put its own claims burden from the disasters at $3.6bn in the third quarter, including $175m related to Mexico.

Reinsurers such as Swiss Re, Munich Re and Hannover Re are financial backstops for insurance companies, helping them pay for such large damage claims in exchange for part of the premiums.

Swiss Re's finance director David Cole said: "Swiss Re maintains a very strong capital position and high financial flexibility to support our clients' needs."

Image:Swiss Re is the world's second biggest reinsurer

At least 369 people were killed in the earthquake that struck central Mexico last month, which had followed another major tremor in the south east of the country two weeks earlier.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, hit the US and the Caribbean in August and September, resulting in widespread damage and hundreds of deaths.

Swiss Re estimated the total insured market losses of the industry caused by these events at $95bn.

Previously, Swiss Re has estimated that for 2016 the total global insured losses from disasters was $54bn, in a year which saw a series of earthquakes and a major wildfire in Canada.

Total economic losses – a greater number because they were not all insured – were estimated at $175bn.

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