Zurich Financial Services Group has said that it currently estimates the aggregate claims of nearly $500m, resulting from the five natural disasters that hit the Asia-Pacific region since the beginning of this year.

The insurer said that the estimates are based on preliminary reviews, representing an amount net of reinsurance and before tax.

It has added that the final loss assessment and cost estimates will take some more time to complete due to the extreme nature of the losses and the limited access to the damaged areas particularly in Japan as wel as in New Zealand.

The five losses include, the Brisbane floods, the Victoria storms and cyclone Yasi in Australia, the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand and the recent earthquake and Tsunami in Japan.

Zurich said these catastrophic losses will be recorded in the first quarter results 2011.