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SwissRe: Losses to be higher this year


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Bill Berkley may get his scenario for greater reserve releases.




“We have already seen significant events in 2010,” Thomas Hess, chief economist of Zurich-based Swiss Re, said today in a statement. “The industry is therefore well-advised to prepare for much higher losses.”


In the first two months of 2010, an earthquake hit Chile and European Windstorm Xynthia struck France. Insured losses from the 8.8-magnitude quake in Chile on Feb. 27 may be as much as $8 billion, catastrophe modeler Eqecat Inc. said on March 1. Xynthia, which killed at least 47 people, may cost insurers as much as 2 billion euros ($2.75 billion), according to Risk Management Solutions.


Costs to insurers from natural disasters totaled a below- average $22 billion in 2009, Swiss Re said. Only two tropical storms hit the U.S. last year, compared with 2008 when Hurricanes Ike and Gustav contributed to more than $44 billion in insured losses from natural disasters.

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