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Insurance industry 'highly effective' in weathering 2011 catastrophes: Swiss Re


The insurance industry proved to be “highly effective” in dealing with last year's near-record $116 billion in insured losses stemming from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters, according to an analysis released Wednesday by Swiss Reinsurance Co. Ltd.

Zurich-based Swiss Re's sigma report on natural catastrophes and man-made disasters said last March's earthquake in Japan resulted in $35 billion in insured losses, making it the most expensive earthquake on record.

The earthquake that destroyed portions of Christchurch, New Zealand, in February 2011 was the third-most expensive earthquake in history, causing about $12 billion in insured losses, Swiss Re said.

In addition, months of flooding in Thailand caused an estimated $12 billion in insured losses, according to Swiss Re.

But “the insurance industry proved highly effective in weathering the extreme events of 2011,” said Swiss Re in the report. “Despite historic losses and a challenging financial environment, the industry played a key role in post-disaster recovery financing, bringing much-needed funds to affected populations, business and governments.”

The report warned, however, that the events “revealed increasing risk accumulation, particularly in emerging markets.”

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