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Swiss Insurers Raise Alpine Flood Damage Estimate

Swiss Insurers Raise Alpine Flood Damage Estimate
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SWITZERLAND: September 29, 2005

ZURICH - Severe flooding in the Alps has caused 2.6 billion Swiss francs ($2 billion) in damages, more than earlier thought, Swiss insurers said on Wednesday, making it the country's second most costly natural catastrophe on record.

The damage estimate for the August floods -- from an organisation of state insurers -- is up from an earlier estimate of 1.8 billion francs.

Of the 2.6 billion franc total, 1.85 billion was insured and the remaining 800 million was infrastructure costs that were not covered, the state insurers said.

The increase comes one day after Switzerland's private insurers raised their estimate for total claims to 1.335 billion francs, from 800 million earlier.

The estimate by the state insurers includes the 1.335 billion figure mentioned by the private insurers.

The sums make the floods the second-costliest catastrophe Switzerland has ever witnessed. Only 1999 storm Lothar, with total damages of 3 billion francs, was more damaging.

Several Swiss insurers have given their forecasts for claims from the floods, which followed days of torrential rainfall.

Zurich Financial Services has said it expects to pay aggregate claims of around $100 million, while Baloise had to give up a financial target after it took a 100 million franc hit from the floods.