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Swiss Re sees claims fall

The re-insurance company, Swiss Re, saw claims fall dramatically in the year 2000 compared to the previous year in spite of the floods that hit central Europe and Asia.

In a preliminary report released on Wednesday, the company said it had had to pay out SFr17.7billion ($11 billion) last year. That is significantly less than in 1999, which was a record year for claims and Swiss Re had to pay out almost SFr50 billion ($31 billion).

The company said that 17,000 people lost their lives due to natural or man-made disasters last year.

The most severe events in financial terms were the floods in Asia and Europe.

Flooding in Tokyo alone cost more than SFr1.6 billion.

But Swiss Re described the year as "relatively favourable" in comparison to 1999, which was marked by seven severe storms and earthquakes.

Man-made catastrophes cost the insurance industry SFr5.63 billion last year. Explosions and fires accounted for SFr2.25 billion, while air accidents cost SFr2.1 billion.

The most costly man-made disasters were explosions in an oil refinery in Kuwait and in an American chemical factory.

swissinfo with agencies


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