Swiss Re: Ike Could Cost Insurers up to $14 Billion

September 24, 2008

Hurricane Ike will cost the global insurance industry up to $14 billion, Swiss Reinsurance Co. said Tuesday.

Ike caused widespread damage in Cuba and the Texas Gulf coast earlier this month.

Insured losses from the hurricane are estimated to be between $7 billion and $14 billion, Swiss Re said.

The Zurich-based reinsurance company revised its estimate for the losses from Hurricane Gustav to between $2.5 billion and $4 billion, down from $4 billion to $8 billion initially forecast.

Incoming claims from insurers and more knowledge about the impact of the storm have led to a more accurate picture on the losses, Swiss Re spokesman Adalbert Koch said.

Gustav swept over Cuba, the Gulf of Mexico and hit the Louisiana coast at the beginning of the month.

Reinsurance companies sell backup coverage to other insurers, spreading risk so the system can handle huge losses from major disasters.

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