October 26, 2017 / 10:57 AM / 2 years ago

Spanish insurer Mapfre says hurricanes take toll on profits

Oct 26 (Reuters) - Spanish insurance company Mapfre reported on Thursday a 22.3 percent decline in nine-month profits following hurricanes and earthquakes in North America and the Caribbean.

Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, Maria and the Mexico City earthquake have caused damages worth hundreds of billions of dollars, hitting profits of many insurers.

Natural disasters impacted the company’s results by an estimated 176.4 million euros ($208.40 million), reducing its net profit by 22.3 percent to 444.6 million euros for the first nine months.

Excluding impact from those disasters, earnings would have risen 8.6 percent, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

It said that Irma and Maria were the two hurricanes that most affected its clients, with a total estimated cost of 108.2 million euros. Mapfre is a leading insurer in Puerto Rico.

For the Jan-Sept period the group’s combined ratio, a measure of expenses to premium income, worsened to 98.7 percent versus Mapfre’s 2016-2018 average target of 96 percent.

“Despite the exceptional situation due to the concentration of natural catastrophes, the financial capacity and solvency of the Mapfre group has been proven to respond to our policyholders,” CFO Fernando Mata said.

In the first nine months of the year, the company’s revenue rose by 1.6 percent to 21.29 billion euros and premiums rose by 5.1 percent to 17.99 billion euros. ($1 = 0.8465 euros) (Reporting by Joanna Jonczyk-Gwizdala in Gdynia; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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