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LONDON (Reuters) – The catastrophe bond sector is likely to grow by 25 percent in 2012, reaching $6-7 billion in issuance by the end of the year – matching a previous record set in 2007, investors say.

A number of new reinsurance companies backed by hedge funds have entered the market in recent months, spurring record sales of catastrophe bonds in the first half of 2012 and bringing in $3 billion of fresh capital to the market, according to Aon’s investment banking division, Aon Benfield Securities.

Issuance of so-called “cat bonds” reached $3.6 billion in the first half of 2012 – doubling the total reached in the same period last year, Swiss Re told Reuters, while other investors say the market is set for “explosive growth”.

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