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Achmea expects H1 operational loss on storm damage, health care costs

AchmeaBV said it expects a "limited negative operationalresult" at group level over the first six months of 2016, reflectinghigher-than-expected health care costs and claims for severe weather damage.

The Dutch insurer said it expects its customers to haveincurred total damage losses of about €260 million from severe rain andhailstorms in recent weeks. After reinsurance, the company's net cost will beapproximately €140 million.

"An increase in the cost of claims owing to climatechange was already expected," said Achmea executive board chairman Willemvan Duin. "This causes a significant negative financial impact for Achmeain the first six months of the year. Current premium levels are not sufficientgiven the rising cost of claims; a further rise in premiums is thereforeinevitable."

Achmea also said it has noticed that health care expenditureis rising more steeply than was expected at the start of the year, in partbecause of rising pharmaceutical costs. The company had set health insurancepremiums at below-cost levels for 2015 and 2016, generating benefits forcustomers of €810 million.

It noted that certainty over health care expenditure dependson a number of variables, including the contribution from a Dutch fund tobackstop high-risk customers, which is only finalized three years from the endof an underwriting year. The adjustment to the forecast of health careexpenditure is less than 1% of written health care premiums, it added.