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Cat losses dent Munich Re’s profit

Munich Re’s profit dipped 17% to €2.58 billion ($3.6 billion) last year due to natural disaster costs incurred in the fourth quarter.

Natural catastrophe losses for the full year were €929 million ($1.3 billion), mainly comprising Canadian forest fires at €404 million ($567.06 million), the New Zealand earthquake at €251 million ($352.3 million) and Hurricane Matthew at €232 million ($325.63 million).

Man-made major losses totalled €613 million ($860.41 million).

Gross written premium was down 3% to €48.85 billion ($68.2 billion) compared with 2015, mainly due to reduced shares in large-volume treaties, the sale of Ergo Italia and negative currency translation effects.

Investment income improved 0.4% to €7.56 billion ($10.6 billion).

The combined operating ratio for property and casualty deteriorated to 95.7% from 89.7%.

The Ergo primary insurance business reported a loss of €40 million ($56.12 million), an improvement on 2015’s loss of €227 million ($318.62 million).

Munich Re director Torsten Jeworrek says the result comes despite intense competition and further price softening.

“Munich Re was able to hold its own by means of skilful cycle management,” he said. “It withdrew from business that no longer met profit expectations, but was able to expand on or write new profitable business.”

After 12 years at the helm CEO Nikolaus von Bomhard will hand over to life reinsurance specialist Joachim Wenning from April 27. Mr Wenning has been with Munich Re since 1991 and served on the board for the past seven years.

Renata Jungo Brüngger has succeeded Wolfgang Mayrhuber on the supervisory board after he resigned on December 31.

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