German reinsurance company Hannover Re announced on Tuesday its full-year 2004 net profit had dropped 12.9 percent to 309 million euros ($400 million) owing to a series of natural disasters. Gross premium income was 15.7 percent lower at 9.6 billion euros, owing mainly to exchange-rate effects, Hannover Re said in a statement. It said that natural disasters last year, especially the cyclones on the East Coast of the United States, had cost it 287.2
million euros. In 2003, similar factors only accounted for 51.5 million euros. Hannover Re reiterated its full-year 2005 target of net profit of 430 to 470 million euros and said it saw a "clear rise" in its 2005 full-year dividend from 1.00 euro per share in 2004. In terms of natural disasters, 2004 was the most expensive in history for the insurance industry, according to figures from Munich Re, the world's biggest reinsurer, which estimates that around 650
natural events helped to push up the industry's bill to an estimated $40 billion.