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Nat cat claims take toll on Munich Re profit

Munich Re’s net profit fell 16.1% to €2.6 billion ($3.64 billion) last year, partly due to higher natural catastrophe claims costs in the fourth quarter.

The German reinsurer had forecast a net profit of €2.3 billion ($3.22 billion).

“We are satisfied with the result,” CFO Jörg Schneider said. “Thanks to our strong market position, client proximity and successful investment management, we were largely able to counter the effects of low interest rates and intense competition in the reinsurance markets.”

The New Zealand quake in November and Hurricane Matthew, which struck Caribbean islands and US southern eastern coastal states in September, produced claims costs of €251 million ($351.41 million) and €232 million ($324.81 million) respectively.

The combined operating ratio for property and casualty reinsurance worsened to 95.7% last year from 89.7% in 2015.

“On a 12-month basis, major losses were lower than expected, but nevertheless significantly higher than in the previous year,” Munich Re said.

Gross written premium (GWP) fell to €48.9 billion ($68.46 billion) from €50.4 billion ($70.56 billion) in 2015, while investment income grew to €7.6 billion ($10.64 billion) from €7.5 billion ($10.5 billion).

In the final quarter of last year net profit fell to €500 million ($700 million) from €700 million ($980.05 million), and GWP dropped to €12.1 billion ($16.94 billion) from €12.4 billion ($17.36 billion) in the corresponding period of 2015.

Munich Re’s ailing Ergo primary insurance unit, which is undergoing a €1 billion ($1.4 billion) restructure, narrowed its full-year loss to €40 million ($56 million) from €200 million ($280 million).

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