Caisse Centrale de Réassurance (CCR) - France’s central reinsurance fund - saw its catastrophe losses nearly double as a result of last year's natural disasters. Hurricane Irma's impact on the French islands of St. Martin and St. Barthélemy in the Caribbean was the main cause of a spike in insured losses from €1.1bn in 2016 to €2.04bn in 2017. The reinsurer’s non-life combined ratio rose to 93.1% for 2017, up from 89.9% in 2016. The firm’s net profit dropped from €141m in 2016 to €45m in 2017. Gross written premiums fell from €1.31bn in 2016 to €1.28bn in 2017, while net investment income also fell to €159m in 2017, down from €174m in 2016. CCR had previously estimated that losses from Hurricane Irma in St Martin and St Barthélemy would reach €1.2bn. In addition to the devastating storm, one of the most severe droughts in 20 years caused heavy agricultural losses in southern Europe, including in France, Italy, and Spain. CCR stressed the fact that while it had suffered sizable catastrophe losses in 2017, its financial situation remained firm. “The public reinsurance balance sheet remains solid as CCR is capable, at present, of covering a natural disaster market loss of €4.5bn without resorting to the use of the State guarantee,” CCR said in a statement regarding its results for 2017. “The Group’s balance sheet remains solid due to a smart investment policy and the positive performance of the financial markets,” the company added. CCR Re, which completed its first years of operations after being spun off from CCR was relatively unfazed by last year’s disasters. The firm recorded €396m in premium income and a loss ratio of 73% for 2017.