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Zurich assesses impact of September hurricanes

The Swiss insurance group, Zurich Financial Services, says it expects claims payments of about $600 million (SFr691 million) related to hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Zurich said the charges would be recorded in its third-quarter results, which are due out on November 13.

The figure includes about $55 million for Gustav and $545 million for Ike, the group said in a statement on Wednesday.

Hurricanes Gustav and Ike hit the United States Gulf Coast on September 1 and September 13, affecting large areas of Texas, Louisiana and parts of the Midwest.

"The steps we have taken to proactively manage our exposure to natural catastrophes in the US limited our losses to a very manageable level," commented Zurich's chief financial officer Dieter Wemmer.

Earlier this month, Zurich wrote down $615 million in investments related to the Sigma Finance Corporation, Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual.