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22 May 2013
Swiss Re has reported rate increases of 3% from the July reinsurance treaty renewals, mostly from Australia, New Zealand and the Americas.
CEO Michel Liès described the month’s renewals as successful and says the rate increases follow last year’s “already strong levels”.
But a solid performance from the reinsurer’s property and casualty arm was masked by an almost $US1 billion ($946.6 million) loss from its US life assurance business Admin Re, which saw Swiss Re’s second-quarter profit fall to $US83 million ($78.5 million) from $US960 million ($907 million) in the previous second quarter.
The group’s combined ratio for the quarter was 85.7%, compared with 81.4% in the corresponding period in 2011.
The property and casualty business increased profit by 86% to $US717 million ($677.7 million), with Mr Liès putting the strong result down to fewer catastrophes, reserve releases and investment gains. Premiums rose 18% to $US2.8 billion ($2.65 billion).
Mr Liès says the July renewals comprise 20% of the group’s reinsurance annual treaty premiums and he expects the trend of strong rate increases to continue.
Second-quarter profits from life and health reinsurance fell 52% to $US248 million ($234 million). Mr Liès says although the business benefitted from realised gains on investments, claims costs were “significantly higher”. Premium and fee income rose marginally to $US2.2 billion ($2.1 billion).
A loss of $US916 million ($865 million) was booked on Admin Re, which was sold to Prudential in May. Swiss Re built the Admin Re business by acquiring closed books of policies from other companies wanting to free up capital. In selling Admin Re, Swiss Re said it wanted to free up capital.
The Corporate Solutions division reported a second-quarter profit of $US26 million ($24.6 million), compared with $US52 million ($49 million), after higher than expected claims from catastrophes and man-made disasters.
Mr Liès says Swiss Re wants to increase its share of business from high-growth markets to 20-25% by 2015, up from 15% now.
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