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Platinum set to gain from catastrophe bond protection

Platinum Underwriters Holdings Ltd has announced preliminary loss estimates totalling $160 million for last month's New Zealand earthquake and the Australian floods and Cyclone Yasi earlier this year.

The Bermuda reinsurer believes that its Topiary Capital Ltd catastrophe bond was activated by the Japan earthquake earlier this month, and that it could benefit from extra retrocessional coverage as a result.

Platinum CEO Michael Price said: “We believe the Tohoku earthquake is an activation event under our contract with Topiary Capital Ltd and that we now benefit from up to $200 million of collateralised retrocessional protection for certain catastrophe events that may occur prior to August 2011.”

The company expects take a hit of $135 million for the New Zealand earthquake and $25 million for the Australian floods and Cyclone Yasi in its first quarter results.

It also believes that its reserves for natural catastrophe events that occurred in the year ended December 31, 2010, including the earthquakes in Chile and New Zealand, are adequate.

Platinum, which provides reinsurance coverage for earthquake and tsunami risk, has indicated its share of the total industry losses from the Tohoku earthquake to be in the region of 0.25 percent to 0.4 percent but said it would be premature to give a proper estimate given the magnitude and recent occurrence of the disaster.

Michael Price, president and CEO of Platinum, said: “Despite the recent increased frequency of major natural catastrophes, we believe Platinum remains well capitalised and we continue participating selectively in the reinsurance marketplace.

“The recent disasters demonstrate the inherent volatility of business exposed to property catastrophes. Nevertheless, we believe that writing such business, when adequately priced, is an important element of our strategy for delivering attractive long term returns to shareholders.”

Platinum CEO Michael Price
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Published March 24, 2011 at 9:58 am (Updated March 24, 2011 at 9:58 am)

Platinum set to gain from catastrophe bond protection

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