Swiss Re boosts its 2018 profit by 27% despite big claims

27 February 2019 — Andrei Victor
Reinsurer Swiss Re announced it generated a full-year net income of USD 421 million in 2018. The result includes estimated large claims of USD 3.0 billion, net of retrocession and before tax, which significantly affected both Property & Casualty Reinsurance (P&C Re) and Corporate Solutions' earnings.

The reinsurer mentioned the P&C combined ratio was 104.0%, reflecting the impact from these losses.

"Following a relatively benign first half of the year, the second half saw a number of major natural catastrophes, notably typhoons Jebi and Trami in Japan, hurricanes Florence and Michael, the Carr, Camp and Woolsey wildfires in the US, a windstorm in Canada and a hailstorm in Australia and several man-made disasters. Despite the estimated combined claims of USD 2.2 billion from natural catastrophes and USD 0.8 billion from large man-made losses, Swiss Re reported a net income of USD 421 million, compared to USD 331 million in 2017".

The net income also reflected an estimated negative pre-tax impact of USD 599 million due to the previously reported change in US GAAP on recognition and measurement of equity investments that took effect on 1 January 2018. Excluding the impact of the change in accounting guidance, net income would have been USD 894 million.

Gross premiums written for the Group increased by 4.7% to USD 36.4 billion, primarily driven by premium growth across the Group's life and health businesses.

Swiss Re mentioned it renewed USD 10.0 billion compared to the USD 8.4 billion premium volume up for renewal on 1 January 2019. This represents an increase of 19%, "benefiting from large transactions and growth in the core business. Price quality increased by 1% and improvements were most pronounced in the loss-affected property and casualty lines. Swiss Re expects further price improvements in the forthcoming renewals later this year".

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