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Insurance market Lloyd's dives into red on catastrophes

22 september 2011, 13:36
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The Lloyd's of London insurance market said Wednesday that it dived into first-half losses due to an unprecedented number of major natural catastrophes including the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, AFP reports.

The company made a pre-tax loss of £697 million ($1.09 billion, 800 million euros) in the six months to the end of June, Lloyd's said in a results statement, as it was hit by soaring claims.

That compared with a profit of £628 million in the same period of the previous financial year.

"2011 has already been one of the most challenging years on record for the insurance industry with major natural catastrophes devastating communities in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United States," said Chairman Lord Levene.

"Lloyd's ability to pay billions in claims to help these communities rebuild is unquestioned and the fact that we have managed to do so without any call on our central capital reserves is testament to the market's exposure management."

The group added that insurance claims so far this year have already exceeded those for the whole of 2010, after Japan's devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami which sparked a nuclear crisis.

"To put the figures into perspective, the claims seen so far in 2011 arising from major events have already exceeded the total for 2010 and we have not yet reached the end of the Atlantic hurricane season," added Levene.

"Two of the 10 costliest natural disasters since 1950 -- the earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand -- have occurred this year."

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