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Japan’s earthquake and U.S. storms helped make 2011 the costliest year on record for insurance companies in terms of natural-disaster losses, according to Munich Re.

Several “devastating” earthquakes and a large number of weather-related catastrophes cost insurers $105 billion, more than double the natural-disaster figure for 2010 and exceeding the 2005 record of $101 billion, the world’s biggest reinsurer said in an e-mailed statement today. Competitor Swiss Re earlier estimated that the industry’s claims from natural catastrophes reached $103 billion.

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