Allianz keeps 2012 guidance after $590 million Sandy hit

Allianz kept its guidance for operating profit of more than 9 billion euros ($12 billion) in 2012, after estimating its hit from last year's superstorm Sandy in the United States at $590 million.

Sandy, which killed 132 people as it swept through the northeastern United States on October 29, is expected to cost the insurance industry up to $25 billion, making it the second-costliest storm after hurricane Katrina in 2005.

However, for European insurers, Sandy was the worst event in an otherwise moderate year for damage claims, allowing many companies to stay on course for their full year profit goals.

Allianz, Europe's biggest insurer, said in a statement on Tuesday its preliminary damage claims figure for Sandy included payments to customers as well as related items such as reinsurance reinstatement fees.

"Despite the impact of Hurricane Sandy, we continue to expect our operating profit for 2012 to exceed 9 billion euros," said Allianz Chief Financial Officer Dieter Wemmer.

Allianz is due to publish its full-year 2012 financial results and natural catastrophe loss data on February 21.

Germany's third-largest insurance group, Talanx , has pencilled in damage payouts of 306 million euros for the storm, including claims on its reinsurance arm Hannover Re .

Talanx and Hannover said claims from the storm were within their annual budget for natural catastrophe losses and did not blow them off course for their 2012 earnings.

The world's biggest reinsurer, Munich Re , has said it expects a hit in the mid-hundreds of millions of euros for Sandy. It is due to release a more precise loss estimate along with preliminary 2012 results on February 5.

In late November, No. 2 global reinsurer Swiss Re estimated its claims burden from hurricane Sandy at around $900 million.

($1 = 0.7482 euros)

(Reporting by Jonathan Gould; Editing by Maria Sheahan)