October 19, 2017 / 12:49 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Hannover Re sees price increases following 2017 disasters

* CEO sees 40-50 pct price increase in disaster regions

* CEO sees 5 pct price rise elsewhere, return to 2015 levels

* CEO sees flat EPS in 2017, more than 10 pct rise in 2018 (Recasts with price expectations, background)

MUNICH, Oct 19 (Reuters) - The German reinsurer Hannover Re on Thursday said that it sees a turnaround in prices following destruction from a spate of hurricanes and earthquakes in North America.

Prices could rise by 40 to 50 percent in the regions hit by disasters, Chief Executive Ulrich Wallin told investors. He also forecast a 5 percent price increase elsewhere, bringing overall prices to 2015 levels.

Last month, Hannover Re said it could miss its 2017 profit target because of claims from the natural disasters, its first such warning since the 2008 financial crisis.

Its German rival Munich Re had also flagged a hit to earnings.

The big question for the reinsurance industry has been whether they will see such high losses from this year’s catastrophes - hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and quakes in Mexico - that they can then demand higher prices for their coverage, which have been in decline for years.

A turnaround in prices would be the first major reversal since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history with insured losses of around $80 billion.

Hannover Re added on Thursday that it did not expect its earnings per share to increase in 2017. It had previously targeted an increase of at least 6.5 percent.

However, next year, the company expects its EPS to increase by more than 10 percent, Wallin said. (Reporting by Alexander Hübner; Writing by Arno Schuetze and Tom Sims; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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