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According to global reinsurer Swiss Re, natural and man-made catastrophes triggered total economic losses of around $40 billion in the U.S., putting property/casualty insurer losses worldwide at $15 billion in 2006. Earthquakes, cold spells, windstorms, and shipping disasters were largely responsible for the losses. The company’s conclusions were based off preliminary data that will be used for a comprehensive report due in the spring.

Swiss Re said that after years of record losses, property/casualty insurers had a favorable year in 2006. Because catastrophe losses only reached $15 billion, it said companies should be able to replenish their risk capital, which had been depleted by record payments for hurricane damages in 2005 and 2004. Swiss Re also said that only three loss events in the billion-dollar occurred: two tornados in the U.S. and a typhoon in Japan.

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