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Munich Re Supports New Research Center to Help Strengthen Buildings Against Natural Disasters

As a founding member of the New, World-Class Institute for Business & Home Safety Research Center



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    Princeton, New Jersey, 19 October 2010 – Munich Re is proud to be among the leaders of the global property insurance industry who are founding members of the Institute for Business & Home Safety’s (IBHS) new state-of-the-art, multi-peril Research Center, which officially opens today in South Carolina.

    The IBHS Research Center, located about 50 minutes south of the Charlotte airport in Chester County, South Carolina, is the only facility of its kind in the world. Capable of meticulously recreating several types of windstorms, hailstorms, and wildfires in a controlled environment, the IBHS lab can accommodate full-scale 1- and 2-story residential and commercial structures in its cavernous test chamber. The defining feature of the lab is a massive array of 105 nearly 6-foot electric fans that can simulate gusty winds up to 140 mph.

    “Munich Re is committed to developing solutions for its clients’ as well as society’s risks. We need to find solutions for reducing costs, and for saving lives in the event of natural disasters. The research that will come out of this facility will go a long way toward making homes safer, more resistant to damage caused by major catastrophes and other natural perils, and ultimately making insurance and reinsurance more affordable,” said Tony Kuczinski, President and CEO of Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.

    Natural catastrophes are becoming more costly to the insurance industry and the economy as a whole. According to Munich Re data, insured losses from significant U.S. natural catastrophes have almost doubled over the past two decades – from $95 billion from 1990 to 1999, to $185 billion from 2000 to 2009. Total economic loss also climbed from $254 billion to $351 billion during this period. Much of the increase in losses can be attributed to socioeconomic trends, including increased building along coastal areas.

    The mission of the IBHS Research Center is to identify, objectively evaluate, and promote effective methods of property loss reduction and prevention. Testing conducted at the IBHS facility will help to establish clear, scientifically sound benchmarks for disaster-resistant design and construction of buildings, as well as helping to refine current product and system testing standards. The applied research will demonstrate the value, effectiveness, and affordability of better-built structures, as well as enhancing property risk modeling by strengthening the critical relationship between theoretical and actual building performance.

    “We are very proud to be standing alongside the leaders of the global property insurance industry in this initiative,” said Julie Rochman, IBHS President and Chief Executive Officer. “The vision and real leadership demonstrated by the Founders of the IBHS Research Center is incredible. With this lab, they are stepping up and out to publicly demonstrate the extraordinary value they place on protecting families and their home, business owners and their operations, and entire communities from Mother Nature’s fury.”

    This press release contains forward-looking statements that are based on current assumptions and forecasts of the management of Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the forward-looking statements given here and the actual development, in particular the results, financial situation and performance of our Company. The Company assumes no liability to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

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    Ashleigh Lockhart
    Ashleigh Lockhart
    Media Relations North America