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Kensington fire losses expected to be covered by reinsurance: Insurer

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Damage caused by last Wednesday’s apartment complex fire in Kensington, England, is likely to largely be covered by reinsurance, according to Protector Forsikring ASA, the insurer for the building.

Insured losses for the fatal blaze are expected to top £25 million ($31.8 million), and Munich Reinsurance Co. is the lead provider of reinsurance, Protector CEO Sverre Bjerkeli confirmed to Business Insurance in an email. The building is covered with a £20 million policy ($25.4 million), and the company expects additional costs, such as those for rehousing residents, would take the total loss above £25 million.

A massive fire at Grenfell Tower, in north Kensington, that began early Wednesday morning killed at least 79, according to the London Metropolitan Police, which is leading a criminal investigation into the fire. According to a police statement, they have not seen evidence that suggests the fire was started deliberately.

The British government on Thursday ordered a public inquiry into the fire.

Officials warned that the death toll may climb higher. The BBC reported that “several hundred” residents could have been at home when the fire started just after midnight.

“The fire will mainly be picked up by Protector's reinsurance program and will, from what we know at the moment, have negligible influence on Protector's net Q2 and 2017 full-year results,” the Oslo, Norway-based insurer said in its statement.

“As the insurance provider for Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Protector Forsikring ASA is involved in the tragic fire in Grenfell Tower. Our thoughts go to the people who lived in the building and their families. Protector will cooperate closely with the local authorities and the rescue teams,” the statement said.