Independent reinsurance and risk intermediary Benfield has just released its latest European Quarterly Report, entitled “Hoping for the Best,” covering the first half results of European reinsurance groups.
The report notes that, “low natural catastrophe losses and strong mid-year renewals ensured that combined ratios were below 100 percent for all five major European reinsurance groups in the first half of 2006, leaving them feeling positive about their prospects for the year.”
Lewis Phillips of Benfield’s Industry Analysis & Research Team commented: “All took advantage of the favorable environment to tighten their risk management procedures. Strong 1 July renewals provided managements with grounds for cautious optimism for the full year.” The report added: “Strong underwriting results were boosted by higher investment income, driven by rising bond yields. Significant capital gains helped earnings growth for most, generating a marked improvement in net profits.”
Benfield also noted that “Swiss Re’s shareholders’ funds rose 17 percent as it raised equity to finance the acquisition of GE Insurance Solutions. Elsewhere, capitalization was broadly unchanged as positive net income was offset by the effects of higher bond yields and adverse currency translation impacts.”
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