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Swiss Re Expects Price Rises after Sandy; To Mull Special Dividend

Posted on 09 Nov 2012 by Neilson

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Hurricane SandySwiss Re AG expects damage claims from Hurricane Sandy to trigger moderate price increases in its property and casualty business next year, according to Chief Financial Officer George Quinn.

"However at the moment it is extremely difficult to forecast what the level of claims resulting from Hurricane Sandy will be," Mr. Quinn told reporters in a conference call Thursday. "All I can say with certainty is that the damage from Sandy won't have a negative impact," he said.

The Swiss reinsurer earlier reported a 62% surge in third-quarter profit, driven by a one-off gain from the sale of a U.S. unit, a benign claims environment, and higher premium and fee income.

The world's second-largest reinsurer also said it may deploy excess capital to pay out a special dividend to shareholders. "At the moment we are in a very strong capital position, and the board will look at the issue of a special dividend in February next year," Mr. Quinn said.

Swiss Re third-quarter performance was very strong, and the group has "clearly met all its targets, although we don't give earnings forecasts for the full year," Mr. Quinn said.

The general "economic and business climate remains volatile, and is unlikely to change in the near future," he said.

Still, Swiss Re has "very low exposure to the peripheral southern European countries" and holds only about $37 million in Portuguese government bonds, Mr. Quinn said.