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Swiss Re confirms targets as it grapples with pandemic

FILE PHOTO: Reinsurer Swiss Re's headquarters are seen on the banks of Lake Zurich in Zurich, Switzerland February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd WIegmann

FRANKFURT/ZURICH (Reuters) - Reinsurance company Swiss Re SRENH.S said it was committed to a stable or increasing dividend as it confirmed its financial targets on Friday despite the coronavirus pandemic that has pressured the industry.

The reinsurer has swung to a loss in the first nine months of 2020 as it and competitors faced large claims from the pandemic as well losses from hurricanes and wildfires in the United States.

Chief Executive Christian Mumenthaler, in a statement ahead of a presentation to investors, said that the pandemic will “remain an earnings and not a capital event...with declining exposures going forward”.

Among the targets it reaffirmed, Swiss Re said it continued to seek a return on equity of seven percentage points above the yield on 10-year U.S. bonds.

Swiss Re said it expected that its adjusted combined ratio in its property and casualty division, a key measure of profitability for its biggest revenue generator, would be 96% or less in 2021, improving from 2020. Readings below 100 indicate profitability.

The company said that the turnaround of its loss-making corporate insurance arm was “well on track”.

Reporting by Tom Sims and Paul Arnold; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Michael Shields

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