Swiss Re published its 2020 Annual Report, Sustainability Report and the agenda for the upcoming Annual General Meeting of shareholders (AGM) on 16 April 2021. In line with the preventive measures announced by the Swiss Federal Council, and in order to best protect the health of Swiss Re's shareholders and employees, it will not be possible for shareholders to attend the AGM in person.
Walter B. Kielholz, Chairman of Swiss Re declared: "In 2020, Swiss Re again proved that its business model is robust and that it can fulfil its role as shock absorber for the insurance industry in times of crisis. The company has supported its clients through the extraordinary events of the COVID-19 pandemic, all the while maintaining a very strong capital position. Swiss Re's businesses delivered strong underlying results, highlighting their long-term earning potential, and market trends point to an optimistic outlook for 2021 and beyond. These factors allow the Board of Directors to confidently propose an attractive dividend to shareholders."
Excluding COVID-19-related impacts, the total economic contribution to ENW amounted to USD 3.3 billion for the year, reflecting a strong underlying business performance in Reinsurance and Corporate Solutions.
ENW decreased to USD 33.7 billion as of 31 December 2020 from USD 36.1 billion on 31 December 2019. ENW per share was USD 116.45 (CHF 102.93) as of 31 December 2020. ENW per share growth amounted to -0.1% in 2020. Excluding COVID-19 claims and reserves, ENW per share growth was 10.3%, underpinning the strong underlying business performance.
In total, claims and reserves for COVID-19 amounted to USD 3.9 billion across the Swiss Re Group in 2020, and resulted in a Group net loss of USD 878 million for the year - the first annual loss since the global financial crisis of 2008. Excluding the impact from COVID-19, the Group net income amounted to USD 2.2 billion, a significant increase from USD 727 million in 2019.
Property & Casualty Reinsurance (P&C Re) improved its normalised combined ratio to 96.9% in 2020 from 98.4% in the previous year. P&C Re continued to focus on underwriting quality and improved terms and conditions in the January 2021 renewals, achieving a nominal price increase of 6.5%, more than offsetting lower interest rates and higher loss assumptions. The successful renewals allow for an improved normalised combined ratio estimate of less than 95% for P&C Re for 2021.
"While some further COVID-19 losses are expected for 2021, we have dramatically reduced relevant exposures in property and casualty lines. All of our businesses have delivered strong underlying performance in 2020 and are confident of hitting their financial targets for 2021", declared Christian Mumenthaler, Group Chief Executive Officer.
Life & Health Reinsurance (L&H Re) maintained its strong underlying performance in 2020, with return on equity, excluding the impact of COVID-19 losses, at 10.4%. The segment also reported strong growth in net premiums earned of 6.9%, driven mainly by longevity deals. According to the Swiss Re, they continue to see attractive opportunities to grow the L&H Re business, particularly in high-growth markets and throughlarge transactions.
The Group Swiss Solvency Test (SST) ratio was at 215% - within the new target range of 200-250%. The Group's very strong capital position and positive outlook enabled the Board of Directors to propose a stable dividend of CHF 5.90 per share at the upcoming Annual General Meeting. The Group aims to grow the regular dividend with long-term earnings or, at a minimum, maintain it.