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U.K. nonlife industry hit hard by weather: S&P


LONDON—Three large weather events in 2007 are likely to result in the U.K. nonlife insurance industry posting a property loss for the year, and will probably lead to the U.K. posting an overall underwriting loss, according to Standard & Poor's Corp.

In January, Windstorm Kyrill hit parts of the United Kingdom and caused insured losses of £350 million ($709.4 million), according to estimates from the London-based Assn. of British Insurers. Floods in June are expected to cost insurers about £1.5 billion ($3.0 billion), while further flooding in July is expected to cause insured losses of at least £1.0 billion ($2.0 billion), according to ABI estimates.

S&P said in a statement it would continue to monitor the individual and cumulative impact of the storms, but said it had not yet made any rating changes based on the events alone.

The rating agency said this largely reflects the U.K. industry's robust capital adequacy.

The effect of the losses will vary noticeably between companies, depending on their books of business and risk profile, S&P said.

S&P said that commercial and personal lines rates are likely to rise in flood affected areas. "The swing factor may well be the response of reinsurers to these losses, a significant proportion of which were thought to be remote, and that is not clear at this stage," the statement said.