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Swiss Re: 2017 profit down on huge catastrophe losses

(CercleFinance.com) - Swiss Re said full-year net income fell in 2017 due to large natural catastrophe losses, noting that 2017 has been "one of the costliest years" in the reinsurance sector's history.

Swiss Re's full-year net income declined to just 331 million dollars in
2017, from 3.5 billion dollars in 2016.

This result includes insurance claims of 4.7 billion dollars from cyclone Debbie in Australia, Atlantic hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the Mexican earthquakes, and the wildfires in California, the firm said.

"2017 was clearly a challenging year for the industry - and Swiss Re," said CEO Christian Mumenthaler.

"However, we believe the outlook for our industry is now more positive than it has been during the last four years," he continued.

In particular, Swiss Re said that increasing interest rates are expected to support its business, as sector profits mainly come from investment returns.

On an upbeat note, Swiss Re said it will propose a higher dividend of 5 Swiss francs per share for 2017.

The group's previously announced share buy-back programme of up to 1 billion Swiss francs was concluded on 16 February.

The Zurich-listed Swiss Re stock was up 2.7% at 97.7 Swiss francs after these results.

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