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Corporate Reports

Munich Re profits jump as damage claims fall

The world's biggest reinsurance company, Germany's Munich Re, has increased its bottom-line profit by more than four times in 2012. The profit jump was the result of fewer natural catastrophes than in previous years.

Munich Re booked a net profit of 3.2 billion euros ($4.3 billion) last year, up from meager earnings of just 710 million euros in 2011, annual figures released Tuesday showed.

Gross premium income was up 5.1 percent at 52 billion euros, Munich Re said in a statement.

The reinsurance company, which provides cover for insurance groups all over the world, said the biggest patch of damage claims it had to cover in 2012 resulted from Hurricane Sandy in the United States last October.

By comparison, one year earlier Munich Re faced a series of major damage claims as a result of the tsunami in Japan, an earthquake in New Zealand as well as devastating floods in Thailand, which made 2011 the most expensive year for insurance companies.

In the statement, Munich Re described its core insurance and reinsurance business as healthy and attributed part of the result to good investments.

"This pleasing profit is founded on our rigorous risk management, disciplined underwriting policy and the realization of profitable business opportunities," Chief Financial Officer Jörg Schneider said.

Munich Re announced that it would increase its 2012 dividend to 7 euros a share from 6.25 euros paid to shareholders in 2011.

uhe/hc (dpa, Reuters, AFP)