The Zurich-based Swiss Re reinsurance company has established a $222-million reserve to pay for its share of the claims resulting from the explosion that decimated Beirut in August.
Swiss Re, which is the world’s second-largest reinsurer, said in its third-quarter 2020 earnings statement that the Beirut insurance claims dominated its man-made losses for the first 9 months of the current year.
According to the company’s CFO, John Dacey, the Beirut claims came on top of an “unusually active” natural catastrophe season that resulted in six losses above $20 million for Swiss Re.
The reinsurer’s catastrophe bill for the January-September period of 2020 totaled $1.5 billion, of which $1.1 billion – $1.2 billion were related to natural catastrophes, Dacey told the press on Friday.
The damages that the Beirut Port explosion caused were estimated to be around $15 billion in total.
The devastating blast exacerbated the paralyzing economic crisis under which Lebanon has been crumbling, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that only made matters worse for the collapsing country.
Elie Torbey, the head of the Association of Insurance Companies of Lebanon, has said that the losses suffered by insurance companies from the blast are estimated at around $1.5 billion.
Insurance companies are currently waiting for the results of Lebanon’s local investigation into the cause of the blast in order to accordingly classify the blast before addressing liability.