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Moody's Investors Service has said that it expects Winter Storm Kyrill to impact upon reinsurers' earnings but not their ratings.
Kyrill swept across large parts of Europe on January 18 and 19, and according to Moody's was the most significant European natural catastrophe since Winter Storm Lothar in 1999.
The ratings agency said it estimated the insured loss average to be in the region of €5 billion, and that it did not expect losses from Kyrill to impact its ratings in the European property and casualty and reinsurance sectors.
Moody's said that it thought reinsurers would bear the brunt of the insured losses.
"With the insurance burden likely to be spread across many companies in different countries, Moody's believes that it is the relatively limited number of reinsurers writing a meaningful amount of European in particular German business which are most likely to be affected by this storm event."
But going on the estimates published so far, Moody's said that losses from Kyrill are likely to represent only a very small proportion of reinsurers' shareholders' equity, although the level should be large enough to put "a meaningful dent" in the earnings of some companies.
"The losses incurred are likely to put upward pressure on certain business lines such as German motor business. However, with much European reinsurance business renewing on January 1, reinsurers will likely have to wait until 2008 to see the positive impact of any rate increases."