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Swiss Re rebounds despite ‘devastating’ catastrophes

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Swiss Re has reported a $US1.1 billion ($1.6 billion) nine-month profit, recovering from a $US468 million ($660 million) loss despite hurricanes, typhoons, a US wildfire and the Genoa bridge collapse.

The claims burden from large natural catastrophes and man-made losses was estimated at $US1.6 billion ($2.3 billion).

“During the third quarter we once again witnessed a series of natural catastrophes and large man-made disasters that devastated lives and disrupted businesses, particularly in Japan and the US,” CEO Christian Mumenthaler said.

“The situation continued to be challenging in the US with the landfall of Hurricane Michael [last month].”

Property and casualty reinsurance recorded a net profit of $US634 million ($894.8 million) after a loss in the corresponding period of last year.

Gross written premium (GWP) increased 3% to $US13.8 billion ($19.5 billion), while the combined operating ratio improved to 99.5% from 114.1% in the corresponding period last year, when hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria hit the result.

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ GWP increased to $US3.2 billion ($4.5 billion) from $US2.9 billon ($4.1 billion) and the combined operating ratio improved to 105.4% from 142.6%.

Catastrophes affecting the division included the Genoa bridge disaster in Italy, a shipyard fire in Germany and Hurricane Florence in the US.

Life and health reinsurance GWP increased 11.7% to $US10.8 billion ($15.2 billion), reflecting growth across all markets, a positive impact for intra-group retrocession agreements and favourable currency fluctuations. Net income for the division fell to $US644 million ($908.9 million) from $US741 million ($1 billion).

Large transactions in Canada and New Zealand, “solid” performance in Asia and Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and investment results drove earnings.