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20 May 2013
Hannover Re enjoyed a strong six months to June 30, compared with the first half last year. The downturn in catastrophe losses drove operating profit up 139% to €597.2 million ($694.75 million) and gross written premium rose 14% to €6.9 billion ($8.02 billion).
CEO Ulrich Wallin says southern hemisphere markets performed well.
“In Australia and New Zealand we were again able to push through appreciable rate increases and improved conditions, as a consequence… we slightly enlarged our overall premium volume here while reducing the exposure,” he said.
Mr Wallin describes the performance as “a pleasing one for our company overall. Both the operating profit and group net income are significantly higher”.
Net premium earned in the first half rose 13.1% to €5.8 billion ($6.74 billion) compared with the corresponding period last year, although without favourable exchange rate movements this would have been restricted to 8.8%.
The non-life reinsurance market improved throughout the half-year, with treaty renewals in Asia and the US yielding better results in April than at the start of the period and gross premium in the segment rising 15.1% to €4.1 billion ($4.76 billion).
Pre-tax profits for non-life reinsurance rose 184% to €430.6 million ($500.9 million).
The catastrophe loss situation improved dramatically, with losses for the half-year totalling €132.4 million ($154 million) compared with €625.2 million ($758.62 million) in the previous corresponding period. The combined ratio moved into positive territory at 96.8%, compared with 110.3% earlier.
The life and health reinsurance area is performing well, with gross written premium in the segment up 12.4% to €2.8 billon ($3.25 billion) and the net figure coming in at €2.5 billion ($2.9 billion). Pre-tax profits were up 73.1% to €127.9 million ($148.77 million) on a margin of 6.2%, compared with 3.4% previously.
Mr Wallin says the group is increasingly focused on the growing life and health markets in Asia and the Islamic world – through Sharia-compliant retakaful products – while conditions remain favourable in mature Western markets.
Investment returns rose 6.8% in the half-year to €30.3 billion ($35.24 billion). Net investment income grew 7.6% to €553.2 million ($643.46 million).
Hannover expects the good times to continue. It predicts gross premium will grow by 5-7% for the full year, with the same rise expected in the life and health market.
Full-year predictions are based on the assumption catastrophe losses will not top €560 million ($651.37 million).
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