* RSA is first insurer to quantify losses from "Christian"
* Munich Re, Allianz decline to do so; they report this week
* Hannover Re says its exposure to the storms is limited
* Sampo's weaker-than-expected profits helps drag down index
By Chris Vellacott and Jonathan Gould
LONDON/FRANKFURT, Nov 5 Britain's largest
general insurer RSA warned on Tuesday that last week's
wind storms in northern Europe would hit profits, the first
major insurer to say so, sending its shares tumbling over 8
Broker Willis Re has estimated insurers will have to pay out
up to $1.75 billion in claims after the storm dubbed "Christian"
sent hurricane strength winds through Europe, killing more than
a dozen people.
The world's No. 1 reinsurer, Munich Re, and
Europe's No. 1 insurer, Allianz, have declined to
estimate damage claims from "Christian". They report third
quarter results on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
RSA said that "Christian" costs as well as those from floods
in Canada this year, deemed that country's costliest natural
disaster, would mean "full year weather losses...materially
above planning assumptions".
It had said in August that it remained on track to meet full
year targets after absorbing the cost of claims from Canadian
floods, though it conceded the impact would continue into the
second half of 2013.
"We now expect 2013 return on equity to be below 10
percent," RSA said in a statement.
That sent RSA shares skidding. By 1150 GMT, its stock was
6.4 percent down at 120.9 pence - by far the biggest faller on
the European insurance index.
Germany's Hannover Re said "Christian" would make
it on to the reinsurer's list of major claims, which it defines
as damage over 10 million euros ($13.5 million), but its own
exposure was limited.
"We assume it will be clearly below 50 million euros...and
only marginally affect our claims budget for the fourth
quarter," Chief Financial Officer Roland Vogel told a conference
call with journalists.
The world's No. 3 reinsurer on Tuesday unveiled a net profit
target for 2014 of 850 million euros, close to its record of 858
million posted in 2012, and above analyst expectations for 826
million net profit for next year.
Hannover said it expects premiums to grow in a low
single-digit percentage range next year and would concentrate on
underwriting despite tough competition. An expected increase in
assets under management should offset the low interest rate
environment, it said.
Hannover stock rose nearly 1 percent, one of only four
gainers in the European insurance index, which was dragged down
over 1 percent by RSA and by sector heavyweight Sampo
reporting weaker-than-expected quarterly profits.
The Finnish insurance and investment group attributed the
disappointing third quarter to lower investment returns which
cast a shadow over higher operational earnings.
Sampo, which owns about 21 percent of Nordic bank Nordea
, said third-quarter pretax profit rose 9 percent from
last year to 403 million euros ($544 million), compared with an
average analyst forecast of 433 million in a Reuters poll.
Meanwhile, British insurer Legal & General posted
higher-than-expected sales on the back of recent acquisitions,
although its shares fell more than 3 percent as its figures were
not as strong as some had hoped.