Zurich Estimates $100 Million in European Flood Losses; No Estimate Yet on Katrina

The Zurich Financial Services Group has issued a statement that, based on preliminary estimates, “it expects aggregate claims payments related to the recent floods affecting Switzerland, southern Germany and Austria of approximately $100 million before tax and net of third party shares. Charges for the European floods will be recorded in the third quarter.”

Zurich said it “is not yet in a position to confirm by when reliable estimates of the claims arising from Hurricane Katrina can be made.” The company stressed that such “estimates are difficult to compile for numerous reasons, including the initial damage in Florida, the sheer size of destruction in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, the flooding of New Orleans, which poses enormous cleanup and restoration efforts, as well as wide-spread and potentially long-lasting business interruptions. In addition, it continues to be very difficult for claims adjusters to access the areas affected.”

CEO James J. Schiro commented: “These events have again reminded us of the fragile environment in which we live. Loss of precious life is high, and the scale of damage caused is difficult to comprehend. While nothing can fully compensate for such catastrophes, I am proud to say that our people are here to help. Even under difficult circumstances, our primary goal is to respond quickly to customer calls and handle claims effectively and in a non-bureaucratic manner.”