Lloyd's takes £2bn hit from natural disasters

The Lloyd's of London insurance market said it expects to take $1.95bn (£1.19bn) hit from the Japanese earthquake, bringing total estimated catastrophe claims in the first quarter to nearly $4bn.

The loss estimate is well within the worst case scenarios Lloyd's prepares for, and the market will have no difficulty paying claims, it said in a statement on Friday.

"As ever, our priority remains to assess and settle valid claims as swiftly as we can to help these communities get back on their feet," Lloyd's chief executive Richard Ward said.