UK storms rip into Zurich's bottom line

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UK storms rip into Zurich's bottom line
Photo: Zurich Insurance Group

Zurich Insurance said on Wednesday that it expected to post a $275-million loss for 2015 largely due to three massive storms that slammed into Britain in December.


Switzerland's biggest insurer warned that the impact of the storms Desmond, Eva and Frank meant "large losses" of around $100 million for its general insurance unit in the fourth quarter, and would impact its overall annual results.
The company, which is set to announce its results on February 11th, pointed out that the three storms "brought heavy rainfall and caused severe flooding in parts of North England, Scotland and Ireland."
Zurich Insurance stressed that "the nature of many of the losses and the extended remediation period to complete repairs means that the final cost remains uncertain."
The three last months of 2015 were also hit by a range of other natural disasters, including a tornado-like storm that last month lashed Sydney with hail stones as big as golf balls.
Zurich Insurance said it expected its results to improve in 2016.
It said it aimed to accelerate its so-called efficiency programme and was now targeting more than the previously announced $300 million in cost savings for 2016.
But, it acknowledged, the programme would entail $475 million in charges booked on its fourth-quarter balance sheet.
And it said it would book a one-time charge of $230 million for the final quarter of 2015 to adjust the value of its German Life business.


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