(Bloomberg) -- Munich Re, the world’s biggestreinsurer, reported a bigger-than-expected drop infourth-quarter earnings as claims from natural disasters rose whileprices continue to fall.

Net income declined to about 500 million euros ($530 million)from about 700 million euros a year earlier, according to astatement Tuesday. That missed the 630 million-euro estimate ofnine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The company proposed adividend of 8.60 euros a share for 2016, after paying out 8.25euros for the prior year.

Reinsurers, which help primary insurers shoulder risks, arereturning cash to shareholders as years of low claims from naturalcatastrophes reduce demand for coverage. Renewed premium volumedeclined by 4.9 percent and prices fell by about 0.5 percent inJanuary, when Munich Re renews about half of its non-lifereinsurance business. That’s even after Hurricane Matthew, which battered the U.S. EastCoast in October after devastating parts of the Caribbean, pushedup claims during the fourth quarter.

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