Europe’s biggest insurer said that first-quarter net profit slumped 44 percent to slightly more than €900 million ($1.3 billion) because of €750 million in expenses related to natural catastrophes.
Of this, some €320 million related to insurance claims from Japan’s strongest-ever recorded quake and resulting tsunami on March 11 that left nearly 26,000 people missing or dead.
Japan’s government has estimated that direct damage from the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami, which also triggered the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl 25 years ago, could reach $300 billion.
Other natural disasters in the first three months of 2011 included devastating floods and a typhoon in Australia in January and February and an earthquake in New Zealand in late February.
Germany’s Munich Re, the world’s top re-insurance company, warned last month that it would post a loss in the first quarter, saying the natural disasters would cost it €2.7 billion.
Hannover Re, which is also German, cut its 2011 profit outlook. Switzerland’s Swiss Re estimated in March that Japan’s earthquake and tsunami have cost it some $1.2 billion, but warned this could be revised upwards.
In the United States, AIG said in March that claims in Japan would cost its property insurance unit Chartis some $700 million, while losses from other natural catastrophes would hit it to the tune of around $200 million.
Allianz said that first-quarter operating profits were around €1.7 billion, close to the year-earlier level, while also sticking to its full-year earnings forecast.
“Although we spent almost €200 million more on natural catastrophes … we were able to keep our operating profit close to the previous year’s level,” chief executive Michael Diekmann said. “This is testimony to the broad-based nature of our business portfolio. We are on track to achieve our operating profit target for 2011.”
Full results will be published on May 12.