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Swiss Re reports profit despite disasters

Swiss Re has posted a first-quarter net profit of $158 million (SFr177 million) despite two major natural disasters affecting its property and casualty business.

This is a 22 per cent increase compared with the same period last year when the Zurich-based company posted a $130 million net profit.

Earnings per share were SFr0.49 ($0.44), up from SFr0.45 in the year-earlier period, the company said.

Swiss Re added that the result was affected by high natural catastrophe losses from Chile's huge earthquake on February 27 which killed 486 people, and windstorm Xynthia that swept across western Europe on February 26-28, causing severe damage in Spain and France.

Operating income in Swiss Re's property and casualty business was down 69 per cent at $259 million in the quarter. Life and health insurance brought $345 million.

The April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, which has caused a major oil spill, will lead to an estimated market loss of between $1.5 billion and $3.5 billion, Swiss Re said. It estimated its own loss from the disaster would be around $200 million before tax. and agencies


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