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U.K. floods expected to cost more than $6 billion


LONDON—Fitch Ratings Ltd., the London-based unit of Chicago-based Fitch Ratings, Inc. said it expects recent floods in the United Kingdom to cost insurers more than £3 billion ($6.2 billion).

Fitch said, however, that it expects the floods to have limited impact on insurers' financial strength ratings.

Heavy flooding hit parts of the United Kingdom during June and July, with damage particularly severe in Yorkshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Herefordshire. The full extent of the damage is not likely to be known for some time, Fitch said in a statement.

"Despite the severity of the recent flooding and the wide area affected, it is not a catastrophe of the magnitude that could impair insurers' capital strength, although it is likely to have a negative effect on earnings," said David Stephenson, associate director of Fitch Ratings Ltd. in the statement.<.p>

Fitch said it expected reinsurance programs to be strong enough to absorb flood losses and limit the net exposure for most U.K. insurers.