FRANKFURT Jan 3 It is too early to estimate
damage from severe flooding in northeastern Australia, the
world's top three reinsurers Munich Re (MUVGn.DE), Swiss Re
RUKN.VX and Hannover Re (HNRGn.DE) said on Monday.
Floods covering a vast area of Australia's coastal northeast
have forced some 200,000 residents from their homes and hit
commodity exports that are a mainstay of the Australian economy.
Queensland State Treasurer Andrew Fraser described the
floods as a "disaster of biblical proportions" and said the
ultimate cost would exceed A$1 billion ($980 million).
Munich Re said in a statement many places had been submerged
and cut off from the outside world since the beginning of
"It is not yet possible to put an exact figure on the
extreme floods in northeastern Australia," the world's biggest
"Many mines have had to stop operations. Heavy rain in this
region is nothing unusual and such weather patterns are
accentuated by the prevailing (climate) conditions," Munich Re
However, insurance observers say apart from the mines, the
region affected has little in the way of industrial
infrastructure that is typically more heavily underwritten by
insurers and their reinsurance company backers.
Munich Re said natural catastrophes in 2010 caused about
$130 billion in economic damage, including insured losses of $37
(Reporting by Jonathan Gould; Additional reporting by Catherine
Bosley in Zurich; Editing by David Holmes)