Swiss Re P&C Re achieved an average renewal price increase of 5% on January 1 this year compared with the same time in in 2019.
Overall renewals climbed 2% to US$10 billion in premium volume as a rise in property business, particularly in the nat cat book, were partly offset by a reduction in casualty lines. Renewals in Australia and Japan are due later this year.
Overall Swiss Re posted a 73% increase post tax profit of US$727 million for 2019 bolstered by strong investment returns and its life and health performance. Overall group net premiums earned and fee income rose 12% to US$38.6 billion, primarily driven by premium growth in P&C Re.
However the firm missed analyst profit expectations (US$1.32 billion) as it was impacted by losses at Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, nat cats and a poor US casualty performance.
P&C Re reported a net income for the full year of US$396 million, up from US$370 million in 2018. The result reflected large natural catastrophe and man-made losses of US$2.3 billion as well as measures to address ongoing trends in US casualty; net premiums earned increased 20% to US$19.3 billion. The P&C Re combined operating ratio (COR) was 107.8% in 2019, compared with 104% reported for 2018.
The COR is expected to improve to 97% for 2020.
The large natural catastrophe losses in 2019 were driven mainly by typhoons Hagibis and Faxai in Japan, Hurricane Dorian in the Atlantic and wildfires, floods and hailstorms in Australia. The result was further impacted by late claims development from Typhoon Jebi. In addition, man-made losses included the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the subsequent grounding of the Boeing 737 Max fleet.
The life and health arm reported a strong net income for 2019 of US$899 million, compared with US$761 million in 2018. Net premiums earned and fee income increased to US$13 billion from US$12.8 billion in 2018.
Meanwhile, Swiss Re Corporate Solution (Swiss Re CorSo) reported a net loss of US$647 million and a combined ratio of 127.9% which included costs at repositioning the business.
Net premiums earned rose 6.1% to US$4.2 billion, as double-digit rate increases and growth in targeted lines of business more than offset the impact from active pruning of selected underwriting portfolios.
The COR for Swiss Re CorSo is estimated to improve to 105% in 2020 and its COR target for 2021 remains at 98%.
Swiss Re group chief executive Christian Mumenthaler said: “Our 2019 results were impacted by heavy natural catastrophe losses, our decisive management actions to reposition Corporate Solutions and increased claims in US casualty. We are taking proactive measures to put us at the forefront of adverse trends.”
Mumenthaler (pictured) added: “On the other hand, we delivered an excellent investment result and strong performance in L&H Re, demonstrating the power of our diversified business model. We achieved a key strategic milestone with the agreement to sell ReAssure. And we are starting 2020 with an improved quality of our portfolio, underpinned by strong January renewals and pricing momentum.”

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