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UPDATE 1-Swiss Re swings to 9-month net loss amid pandemic

* Smaller-than-expected loss

* Follows $3 billion in pandemic-related claims (Updates with details)

FRANKFURT, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Reinsurance company Swiss Re on Friday reported a smaller-than-expected net loss in the first nine months after booking claims and reserves of $3 billion related to COVID-19.

Insurers worldwide are facing large claims from the pandemic, such as those for cancelled events, as well losses from hurricanes and wildfires in the United States.

The nine-month net loss of $691 million compares with a net profit of $1.3 billion a year earlier. Analysts had expected a larger loss of $877 million, according to a consensus report published by Swiss Re.

The company said uncertainty around the pandemic is high and the impact could affect claims in the coming quarters.

“We believe that our reserving approach remains appropriate and reflective of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the impact of the pandemic,” Chief Executive Christian Mumenthaler said.

Swiss Re’s combined ratio in its property and casualty division, a key measure of profitability for its biggest revenue generator, worsened to 110.3% from 101.4% a year earlier. Readings below 100 indicate profitability.

Rival Munich Re said last week that it anticipated a sharp drop in third-quarter profit.

Reporting by Tom Sims; Editing by Michelle Adair and Maria Sheahan

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