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Munich Re sees 'limited' COVID impact this year

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Munich Re has posted a rise in first quarter net profit of €589 ($913 million) from €221 million ($342.5 million) a year earlier, placing the business in position to meet its full-year earnings target of €2.8 billion ($4.3 billion).

The property and casualty (P&C) reinsurance arm booked €358 million ($554.7 million) in net profit in the three months to March, up sharply from the €141 million ($218 million) it made in the corresponding period last year.

P&C reinsurance premium volume increased to €6.33 billion ($9.8 billion) from €6.16 billion ($9.5 billion) and the combined ratio improved to 98.9% of net earned premium from 106%.

The reinsurer says a “considerably lower burden arising” from COVID-19 losses especially in P&C reinsurance helped the business made a strong start to the year.

“In business terms, we expect that the impact of the pandemic in 2021 will be limited for Munich Re,” CFO Christoph Jurecka said.

“On top of the anticipated COVID-19 losses, there was an unusual cold snap in the US early this year.

“We are nevertheless on track to meet our annual target of €2.8 billion thanks to robust operating earnings.”

Losses from major events - defined as €10 million ($15.5 million) and above - totalled €892 million ($1.38 billion), down from €1.18 billion ($1.82 billion) a year earlier.

Man-made major losses declined to €247 million ($382 million) from €973 million ($1.5 billion), including COVID-19 losses of around €100 million ($155 million).

However major losses from natural catastrophes tripled to €646 million ($1 billion), with about €450 million ($697 million) of it caused by the deep freeze in the US state of Texas.