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Munich Re Sees Natural Catastrophes on the Rise

Date: 29-Dec-06
Country: GERMANY

Torsten Jeworrek, a member of Munich Re's management board, said that the increase in such disasters means continually rising loss potentials for insurance and reinsurance firms.

Munich Re said the insurance industry was largely spared major losses from natural catastrophes in 2006, unlike in 2005 and 2004, when hurricanes such as Katrina caused major losses.

Economic losses up to the end of December 2006 totalled US$45 billion for the industry, around a fifth of 2005's US$219 billion.

Insured losses amounted to US$15 billion this year compared with US$99 billion in 2005, Muinich Re said.

"This relatively positive outcome can be ascribed to the absence of major hurricanes in the North Atlantic," Munich Re said in a statement.

"No one seriously disputes climate change any more. In the long term, it will be a factor which increases the number of severe natural catastrophes," Peter Hoeppe, Head of Munich Re's Geo Risks Research, said.

He added that Munich Re believes that in the next one to two decades the number of hurricanes will exceed the mean for the years 1950 to 2006, when the annual average was ten named cyclones, six of hurricane force.

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