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Best’s Market Segment Report: Swiss Re Takes Top Spot in AM Best’s Top 50 Ranking of Global Reinsurers

Bill Sinn | September 04, 2019

The first five positions in AM Best’s annual ranking of the Top 50 Global Reinsurance groups experienced some reshuffling in 2018, most notably in the top spot as Swiss Re Ltd. moved past Munich Reinsurance Company. Outside of 2016, when Swiss Re Ltd. held the top spot, Munich Reinsurance Company has held the top spot each year since 2010 and was No. 2 in this most-recent ranking, as detailed in the new Best’s Market Segment Report, “Global Reinsurance: Fighting the Last War.” 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 $10 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 Rück SE and SCOR SE took the three and four spots, respectively. Although Hannover Rück 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.

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.

Other highlights from this year’s Top 50 ranking include:

  • The largest upward movement was by Taiping Reinsurance Co. Ltd., which moved to No. 28 from No. 34. China-based Qianhai Reinsurance Co., Ltd., a new entrant in the ranking, landed at No. 40
  • Maiden Holdings, Ltd. experienced the most notable downward movement, falling from No. 40 last year to out of the top 50
  • Two sub-rankings of top non-life and life global reinsurers, which highlights reinsurance groups that hold a true global footprint or business profile
  • An explanation of the methodology employed by AM Best to form its Top 50 Global Reinsurance ranking.

The global reinsurance report also explores the state of the collateralized reinsurance market, along with in-depth looks at the Lloyd’s and life reinsurance markets, as well as geographic regions such as Latin America, MENA and Asia-Pacific.

To access a copy of this market segment report, please visit http://www3.ambest.com/bestweek/purchase.asp?record_code=289149


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