ZURICH, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Swiss Re beat third-quarter profit views on a big one-off gain from its sale of a U.S. unit, and said it would consider paying shareholders a special dividend if it cannot find ample opportunities to plow profits back into its business.
"If we are unable to find opportunities that meet our return expectations, we would look at further measures to return excess capital, such as a special dividend," Swiss Re financial chief George Quinn said in a statement.
The Zurich-based reinsurer also said it was too early to make damage claim estimates from Hurricane Sandy, which roared ashore in the United States last week, killing at least 113 people, knocking out power to millions, ravaging seaside towns and inundating New York City's streets and tunnels.
Swiss Re posted a $2.2 billion net profit for the quarter, compared with the average estimate of $1.4 billion in a Reuters poll. (Reporting by Katharina Bart)