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Swiss Re P&C improves in ‘recovering market’

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Swiss Re’s first-half performance benefitted from an improved property and casualty (P&C) result, while accounting rule changes affected overall earnings.

Net profit fell to $US1 billion ($1.4 billion) from $US1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) in the corresponding period last year, but was little changed excluding the accounting impact.

“It is positive to see the market environment is gradually recovering,” CEO Christian Mumenthaler said. “We improved our profitability and underwriting performance, especially in P&C, and our solid results show the value of our diversified book of business.”

Gross written premium (GWP) grew 7.9% to $US19.6 billion ($26.5 billion), driven mostly by life and health and also lifted by the P&C contribution.

The P&C combined operating ratio improved to 92.9% from 97.4% and net income increased to $US752 million ($1 billion) from $US546 million ($737.7 million).

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions GWP increased 18.5% to $US2.04 billion ($2.8 billion), while the combined operating ratio was 101.7% compared to 104.5% in the corresponding period last year.

Lower large natural catastrophe losses were partly offset by higher man-made losses.

Swiss Re says it will explore an initial public offering next year of its UK closed-book business ReAssure.

“It is important for ReAssure to have access to substantial new capital to acquire additional closed books,” the company said. “Nonetheless, the closed-book consolidation market remains an attractive growth area for Swiss Re, which is expected to remain a significant investor in ReAssure.”