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INSURANCE

High profits for insurer despite Sandy claims

Munich Re, the world's biggest re-insurer, said it was raising its full-year profit forecast, despite the expected claims losses from superstorm Sandy that battered the United States last week.

High profits for insurer despite Sandy claims
Photo: DPA

“The result for the first three quarters is more than pleasing. Despite Hurricane Sandy, we are very optimistic of realising a profit in the region of €3 billion for 2012,” said chief financial officer Jörg Schneider.

At the beginning of the year, Munich Re had envisaged a full-year profit of around €2.5 billion.

Schneider said it was still difficult to quantify the “substantial” insured losses caused by Sandy.

“The high number of individual losses and the vast extent of the storm make loss estimation very difficult. Based on a provisional estimate characterised by a high degree of uncertainty, we anticipate Munich Re’s share of the losses to be in the mid three-digit million-euro range,” he said.

In the third quarter, Munich Re’s net profit nearly quadrupled, rising to €1.13 billion in the period from July to September from €286 million a year earlier.

Operating profit jumped 70.9 percent to €1.434 billion and gross premium income rose by 8.3 percent to €13.236 billion.

Profits were driven not only by positive underwriting business but “also by a high investment result,” Schneider explained.

Taking the first nine months, net profit amounted to €2.718 billion, compared with just €75 million a year earlier.

Operating profit was up more than nine-fold at €3.738 billion and gross premium income grew by 5.3 percent to €39.133 billion.

AFP/jlb

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MUNICH

Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.

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