November 1, 2018 / 6:33 AM / 16 days ago

UPDATE 1-Swiss Re swings to profit in first 9 months despite large claims

* 9-month net profit $1.1 billion vs $468 million loss

* Gross premiums up 6.5 percent

* U.S. remained challenging in October with hurricane (Updates with details, background)

FRANKFURT, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Reinsurer Swiss Re on Thursday returned to a net profit in the first nine months of the year from a loss a year earlier, despite a series of large claims from big natural catastrophes and man-made disasters.

Net profit was $1.1 billion during the period, up from a $468 million loss during the same period last year. Gross premiums rose 6.5 percent to $28.4 billion. The reinsurer had warned in October that third-quarter claims losses were large for an individual quarter but that cumulative losses for the first nine months of 2018 were broadly in line with expectations.

"We once again witnessed a series of natural catastrophes and large man-made disasters that devastated lives and disrupted businesses, particularly in Japan and in the U.S.," Swiss Re Chief Executive Christian Mumenthaler said.

Mumenthaler added that business remained challenging in the U.S. with Hurricane Michael in October.

Claims totalled $1.6 billion during the nine months, dominated by a typhoon in Japan and the collapse of a bridge in Italy's Genoa.

Despite those losses, 2018 is turning out to be less severe than 2017, which was marked by a series of major hurricanes, fires and earthquakes in North America in the costliest year ever for the industry. (Reporting by Tom Sims, editing by Riham Alkousaa and Maria Sheahan)

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