Amlin Japan losses set to reach £150m

CATASTROPHE insurer Amlin yesterday said it expected to lose up to £150m in claims from the twin earthquake and tsunami catastrophe to hit Japan last month.

Amlin, a Lloyd’s managing agent, said it estimated its Japan losses would range from £80m to £150m based on a $12-25bn (£7.4-15.5bn) loss to the overall industry.

It was exposed to a £110m loss from the earthquake that decimated Christchurch in New Zealand in February, while floods in Australia in January would cause £15m of claims, it said in an update on its first-quarter catastrophes.

Its maximum loss already this year could therefore hit £275m before any claims from US hurricanes, which start in about August, are added.

But underwriting director Simon Beale said it was protected against any further heavy losses this year.

“Amlin’s reinsurance programmes provide increased levels of reinsurance protection for any further catastrophe events during 2011,” he said.

The losses in Japan will be to its marine insurance, commercial property and reinsurance business lines.

But Beale said insurance premium rates were showing signs of rising in areas affected by the disasters, offering some hope that the losses could be offset by higher income in future.

“Early market signs suggest that...loss affected areas will see strong rate increases,” he said. Amlin’s shares closed up 0.75 per cent.