September 29, 2017 / 2:36 PM / in a year

German insurer Talanx to miss 2017 earnings goal after hurricanes

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German insurer Talanx AG (TLXGn.DE) said on Friday it would miss its 2017 earnings guidance due to claims arising from the hurricanes that have swept through the Caribbean, little over a week after saying it could still hit the target.

Chief Executive Herbert Haas told reporters in Frankfurt that the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico included damage to pharmaceutical facilities for which Talanx had written insurance.

“We are a big pharma insurer and because of that we are definitely somewhat harder hit than the rest of the market,” said Haas.

He added that he did not now see how Talanx, the parent of reinsurer Hannover Rueck SE (HNRGn.DE), could meet its earnings target of 850 million euros (750.17 million pounds)for 2017.

Talanx said on Sept. 21 that it may miss the target due to the hurricanes and a major earthquake in Mexico, but did not abandon the guidance.

The Pentagon has named a top general to command military relief operations in Puerto Rico, whose 3.4 million people lack electricity, communications, fuel, clean water and other essentials more than a week after Hurricane Maria.

Insurance experts Air Worldwide estimate insurance losses in the Caribbean at between $40 billion and $85 billion, with more than 85 percent affecting the U.S. territory. RMS, another sector specialist, estimates the losses at $15-$30 billion.

It will take another three to four weeks for Talanx to come up with a serious estimate of its exposure, said Haas. Talanx shares traded up 0.6 percent at 1400 GMT on Friday.

Reporting by Hans Seidenstuecker; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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