A.M. Best: Swiss Re takes over the Top 50 Global Reinsurance leading position from Munich Re

4 September 2019 — Daniela GHETU
For the second time in the last three years, Swiss Re has topped the Top 50 Global Reinsurance groups ranking released by A.M. Best, taking over the leadership from Munich Re, the undisputed leader since 2010, except for 2016. In fact, while Munich Re leads the non-life sub-ranking, while Swiss Re holds the first position in the life insurance one.

The 2019 edition of the annual Best's Market Segment Report, "Global Reinsurance: Fighting the Last War" reviews the trends in the industry, based on the 2018 results. The 2019 ranking is based on reinsurance gross premiums written.

"Expect Swiss Re and Munich Re to continue to compete for first place for the foreseeable future," said Filippo NOVELLA, financial analyst. "They are collectively the largest reinsurance providers of capacity in the market, and make up approximately 30% of total premium among the top 50 groups."

After moving up in last year's ranking, bolstered by a reinsurance agreement of almost USD10 billion between National Indemnity Company and American International Group, Inc., Berkshire Hathaway Inc. fell back two spots to No. 5 given the one-off nature of the deal. Hannover Ruck SE and SCOR SE took the three and four spots, respectively. Although Hannover Ruck and SCOR reported modest growth in 2018, the latter experienced a mild top-line decline driven by the weakening of the euro against the U.S. dollar.

Overall, the Top 10 reinsurance groups make up 68% of the total gross premium written in the Top 50 ranking, which reinforces AM Best's sentiment that the industry's largest reinsurers continue to house disproportionately sizable amounts of risk, despite cedants' efforts to diversify their reinsurance panels and spread out their counterparty risk. Overall, the y-o-y in the Top 50 total GWP was close to nil, from USD 262.7 billion in 2017, to USD 263.0 billion last year, a result that shows a significant slowdown in the global leading reinsurance echelon.

The Top 50 reinsurance groups recorded an average combined ratio in 2018 of 100.9%, an 8.2-percentage point improvement from the previous year, mainly a result of lower catastrophe losses. Among the big four European reinsurers, Swiss Re Ltd.'s combined ratio of 106.6% was the highest for the year.


  • All non-USD currencies converted to USD using foreign exchange rate at company's fiscal year-end
  • Total shareholders funds - as reported in the balance sheet, unless otherwise noted
  • Ratios are for non-life only
  • Hannover Ruck - net premium written data not reported; net premium earned substituted
  • Lloyd's premiums are reinsurance only. Premiums for certain groups in the rankings may include Lloyd's Syndicate premiums when applicable; Total shareholders' funds includes Lloyd's members' assets and Lloyd's central reserves
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