Christchurch quake will cost Munich Re one billion dollars

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The world's biggest re-insurance company, Munich Re, said Thursday that the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand will cost it about one billion Australian dollars (726 million euros, $1.0 billion).

The February 22 quake caused substantial damage and disruption to New Zealand's second largest city and is believed to have killed more than 200 people.

Munich Re's estimation "is subject to uncertainty," it said in a statement.

When the cost of floods in Brisbane, Australia and damage done by cyclone Yasi in northwest Australia were included, the bill comes to around 1.5 billion Australian dollars, the insurance group said.

Munich Re retained its net profit target of around 2.4 billion euros for this year but warned that "it will only be able to achieve this target if random major losses remain below the average level to be expected in the further course of the year."

A comparable net profit was expected in 2012.

Last year, the re-insurance giant also posted a net profit of 2.4 billion euros, including 467 million euros earned in the last quarter.

Gross premiums gained almost 10 percent to 45.5 billion euros and the group forecast a further increase to 46-48 billion euros this year.

© 2011 AFP

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