Thai disaster costs Lloyd's $2.2bn

Thailand's worst flooding in 50 years last October will cost the Lloyd's of London $2.2bn (£1.4bn), the insurance market warned yesterday.

Flooding in the country left more than 800 people dead. Factories producing goods for consumers worldwide were also deluged, including a Honda plant where thousands of cars were left under water. The whole insurance industry is facing claims totalling $15bn-$20bn.

Lloyd's chief executive Richard Ward said the market would cope.

"The Lloyd's market is as well-capitalised as ever. While claims from Thailand could still evolve over time, paying these is within the normal course of business. As ever, our priority remains to assess and settle valid claims as swiftly as we can so the community and businesses in Thailand recover."

The floods forced more than 10,000 Thai factories to close and lay off some 350,000 staff.

Thailand's floods were one of the reasons that the world's total catastrophe claims hit an estimated $108bn last year, making 2011 the insurance industry's second most expensive year on record for natural disasters, according to the reinsurer Swiss Re.