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Zurich Financial Services expects tsunami claims to reach $65 million

Zurich Financial Services Group has said it expects claims related to the tsunami that struck South Asia on December 26 to cost the company around $65 million, based on exposure estimates and claim projections.

Zurich stated that it estimates the tsunami claims and the increment in hurricane losses to impact net income in the fourth quarter 2004 by $185 million. However, it noted these charges will not materially affect the group’s financial strength.

Separately, Zurich has revised its estimate of expected claim costs arising from the four hurricanes that struck the Caribbean and the US in August and September, from $400 million to $520 million after tax and net of reinsurance.

The company said these revisions arise from the difficulty of modeling the unusual sequence of storms, which struck the same area more than once and caused flooding losses in addition to wind damage.

The adverse developments were amplified by the unprecedented reconstruction demand surge pushing up repair costs and the length of time of business interruptions. This was due to the sequence of overlapping storms and the combined impact of wind and flooding that was a particular characteristic of hurricanes Frances and Ivan.