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Swiss Re hit by hurricane, Thomas Cook collapse

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Swiss Re’s underwriting performance was affected by $US1.7 billion ($2.46 billion) in large catastrophe claims in the first nine months of 2019, including from Hurricane Dorian and the compulsory liquidation of Thomas Cook in the third quarter.

Claims included about $US460 million ($665 million) from Typhoon Faxai in Japan and $US300 million ($434 million) from Hurricane Dorian in the Atlantic.

Swiss Re estimates total insured market losses for Faxai at $US7 billion ($10.14 billion) and Dorian at $US4.5 billion ($6.52 billion).

Estimated claims from large man-made events, including the recent liquidation of Thomas Cook and earlier Ethiopian Airlines crash and subsequent grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX fleet, amounted to $US310 million ($448.97 million).

Swiss Re’s Property & Casualty Reinsurance (P&C Re) combined ratio worsened to 101.4%, from 99.5% a year earlier, though management says it is on track to achieve a normalised combined ratio of 98% in 2019.

“Our leading market position and positive rate dynamics year-to-date give us confidence for the upcoming renewal season,” Swiss Re CEO Christian Mumenthaler said.

A strong investment performance boosted Swiss Re’s net profit to $US1.3 billion ($1.88 billion) in the nine months to September 30, up 23% from the same period a year earlier.

P&C Re net income rose 39% to $US880 million ($1.27 billion).

The life and health businesses continued to deliver a strong performance, seeing net income rise to $US651 million ($942.84 million) for the nine months.

Corporate Solutions reported a combined ratio of 127%, affected by actions to reposition the business as announced in July, as well as large man-made and natural catastrophe losses of approximately $US290 million ($420 million) for the nine-month period, including from Hurricane Dorian and Thomas Cook.

The Swiss Re Board decided against a second tranche of its public share buy-back program, in part because of the large catastrophe claims. The first tranche, which started on May 6, was more than 60% complete at September 30.