Swiss Re prepared for billions in Japanese claims

Insurer Swiss Re has estimated that
it faces claims from the Japan earthquake and tsunami of about $1.2 billion.

But the world’s second largest
re-insurance firm said the actual figure may not be known for several months.

Last week, US insurance giant AIG
said its claims from the disaster would be at least $700 million.

Analysts have estimated that the
insurance industry’s final bill could reach $35 billion, excluding any impact
from problems at the nuclear power plants.

Insurance company shares have been
under pressure since the disaster, but Swiss Re shares rose 1 per cent on
relief that the final bill may not be as high as feared.

The company faces about $800
million in claims from the earthquake that struck New Zealand’s South Island in

“We will be able to absorb
current estimates for claims and still maintain significant excess
capital,” Swiss Re said in a statement.

The company added that the problems
at the Fukushima nuclear power plant were unlikely to result in a significant
direct loss for property and casualty insurers.