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Nov 3, 2017

Fairfax companies face nearly $1B in Q3 losses due to natural disasters

Shareholders attend the Fairfax Financial Holdings annual general meeting in Toronto

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TORONTO -- Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. (FFH.TO) says hurricanes and other natural disasters in the latest quarter hit its portfolio companies with more than $1.2 billion in losses.

The Toronto-based company says the insurance industry in the third quarter saw some of the largest catastrophe losses ever due to hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as earthquakes in Mexico.

Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa says companies in its portfolio have been hit with an estimated $1.2 billion in total losses, out of roughly $120-billion in losses across the industry.

Still, Watsa says he expects Fairfax to break even in 2017 and not suffer any significant loss of capital.

Fairfax saw third-quarter net earnings of $608 million, up from roughly $1.7 million in the same period a year ago.

Its latest earnings include a net after-tax gain of $1.2 billion on the sale of some of Fairfax's equity interest in Indian insurance company ICICI Lombard.