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More insurers count the cost of flooding

The total damage bill could be up to SFr2 billion

(Keystone)

Zurich Financial Services has announced estimates of claims related to last month's heavy flooding in Switzerland, southern Germany and Austria.

It expects total damage payments to reach a pre-tax figure of about $100 million (SFr124.1 million).

It said on Thursday it would book these charges in the third quarter.

Another insurer, Allianz Suisse, said it estimated claims from the severe flooding at home at SFr120 million.

The company added that by the end of August, it had received more than 3,500 individual damage claims.

The Baloise insurance of Basel on Wednesday reported it expected net losses from the floods of around SFr100 million.

Private insurers have said they are facing more than SFr800 million in costs from last month's floods. The total economic damage is estimated at up to SFr2 billion.

Katrina

Zurich said in a statement that it was not yet in a position to estimate claims arising from Hurricane Katrina in the United States.

Such estimates are difficult to compile for numerous reasons, including the initial damage in Florida, the sheer size of destruction in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi and the flooding of New Orleans, it added.

"These events have again reminded us of the fragile environment in which we live. Loss of precious life is high and the scale of damage caused is difficult to comprehend," commented Zurich CEO James Schiro.

Catastrophe modelling experts have raised their initial loss estimates for the damage caused by Katrina as more information becomes available. But the range remains very wide, from $14 billion to $35 billion.

It could take weeks before the floodwaters recede and insurers have a clearer picture of the damage.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Estimates of insurance damage claims from flooding in Switzerland, southern Germany and Austria:
Zurich Financial Services: $100 million (SFr124.1 million)
Baloise: SFr100 million
Allianz Suisse (Switzerland alone): SFr120 million
Private insurers: more than SFr800 million.

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