Top 50 World’s Largest Reinsurance Groups — 2023 is based on global rating agency AM Best data and research. The reinsurance groups ranked by unaffiliated gross reinsurance premiums written.
Global reinsurance groups are cutting back on the cover they provide against medium-sized natural catastrophe risks due to investor pressure after several years of large catastrophe losses and improved profitability in other parts of the reinsurance market.
Many of the reinsurance companies reported that a third to half of their premium growth could be attributed to pricing increases, as opposed to exposure growth.
AM Best’s analysis indicates that the top global reinsurance groups experienced a nearly 17% reduction in shareholders’ equity due to rising interest rates, driving their available capital down from $475 bn to $411 bn.
With reinsurance gross premiums written of roughly $51.3 bn and net premiums writte of $48.6 bn, Munich Re tops the list of the world’s 50 largest reinsurers.
Swiss Re takes the 2nd spot, which the firm has held since being overtaken by Munich Re, with total reinsurance GPW of $39.8 bn and NPW of $37.3 bn. Hannover Re, remains in 3rd place with GPW of $35.5 bn and NPW of $29.7 bn, with year-on-year growth ensuring the top three has been the same for three consecutive years.
TOP 50 World’s Largest Reinsurance Groups
|Rank||Reinsurance Company||Life & Non-Life Re GWP||Life & Non-Life Re NWP|
|4||Canada Life Re||$23,414||$23,414|
|9||Reinsurance Group of America||$13,823||$13,052|
|14||Arch Capital Group||$6,948||$4,924|
|15||MS&AD Insurance Group||$5,153||N/A|
|16||General Insurance Corp of India||$4,519||$4,108|
|25||The Toa Re||$2,931||$2,397|
|30||Caisse Centrale de Reassurance||$2,206||$2,007|
|34||Tokio Marine & Nichoda Fire Insurance||$1,656||$1,321|
|36||American Agricultural Insurance||$1,556||$479|
|38||IRB - Brasil Resseguros||$1,493||$940|
|39||Allied World Assurance||$1,492||$1,388|
|43||W.R. Berkley Corp||$1,081||$997|
|50||Nacional de Reaseguros||$737||$610|
Source: A.M. Best Company, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
While some reinsurers experienced pressure on their ratings due to disappointing operating performance, the overall balance sheet strength remained intact.
The prolonged period of low interest rates had previously maintained capital at comfortable levels for these reinsurers. In recent years, AM Best estimated that companies held 15% to 20% of capital above the minimum required to maintain their Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR) at the “strongest” level.
TOP 45 World’s Largest Non-Life Reinsurance Groups
|Rank||Reinsurance Company||Non-Life Re GWP||Non-Life Re NWP|
|11||Arch Capital Group||$6,948||$4,924|
|13||MS&AD Insurance Group||$5,153||N/A|
|14||General Insurance Corp of India||$4,332||$3,927|
|24||The Toa Re||$2,090||$1,661|
|25||Caisse Centrale de Reassurance||$2,002||$1,813|
|29||Tokio Marine & Nichoda Fire Insurance||$1,656||$1,321|
|30||American Agricultural Insurance||$1,556||$479|
|33||Allied World Assurance||$1,492||$1,388|
|36||IRB - Brasil Resseguros||$1,284||$758|
|39||W.R. Berkley Corp||$1,081||$997|
Source: A.M. Best Company, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The reinsurance sector combined ratio to be about 96% for 2023, though it observes that sustained high inflation and the effects of climate change can make claims trends less predictable.
Adverse trends in loss activity have pressured reinsurers’ results the last few years, as many have failed to generate returns that meet their cost of capital, testing investors’ risk tolerance (see April 2023 Reinsurance Renewal by Regions).
The property reinsurance market had benefitted from an abundance of capital and participants in recent years. Competitive forces and a lack of catastrophic events in prior periods led to lower cedent retentions and loosened up terms and conditions.
Property lines may face margin pressure if prices do not keep up with repair and construction costs while long-tail casualty lines could meet reserve deficiencies, which in severe cases could weaken reinsurers’ capital.
Premium rate increases have accelerated in 2023 after a slowdown during the January renewal, with property premiums having increased the most in response to the effects of high inflation, more frequent natural catastrophes, and the war in Ukraine.
Property premium rates to rise further in 2023 as high inflation and climate change continue to push up claims. In contrast, casualty premium rates are likely to remain stable as casualty business benefits from a higher reinsurance capital allocation. As climate change increases the likelihood of more severe natural catastrophe events, there may be rising costs for the industry and increasingly volatile earnings.
More reinsurers to reduce their property-catastrophe exposure or even to cease cover, moving the industry closer to a true hard market where demand will not be fully met.
The four main European reinsurers, Hannover Re, Munich Re, SCOR SE and Swiss Re, all reported very strong 1H2023 results with returns on capital significantly surpassing their cost of capital.
This is in contrast with 1H2022 when higher interest rates generated significant mark-to-market losses on investments.
Profits in life reinsurance returned to pre-pandemic levels thanks to significantly lower excess mortality claims linked to the coronavirus pandemic. In 1H2023, investment income also recovered from comparatively low levels recorded in 1H2022 as equity markets performed well and interest rates stabilised on high levels.
High natural catastrophe claims, write-downs on equity investments and the strengthening of reserves due to high claims inflation were the drivers of the deterioration in earnings. Life and health reinsurance showed a stronger technical result at all four peers, partly due to lower Covid-19-related mortality claims.
All reinsurers benefitted from higher prices in non-life reinsurance and most reported double-digit premium growth.
Global reinsurance – estimated dedicated reinsurance capital
Natural Catastrophe, Equity Write-Downs and Inflation Burden Earnings All four reinsurers were hit to various degrees by Hurricane Ian in the US, one of the costliest ever loss events, and reported natural catastrophe claims above budgets for 9M22.
Reserve strengthening due to rising claims inflation and loss creep put additional strain on combined ratios at SCOR and Swiss Re. Write-downs on equity investments, in particular, depressed investment income at Munich Re and Swiss Re and could not be fully offset by rising reinvestment yields.
Underwriting results should remain favourable in 2H2022 and 2023 as rate increases stay ahead of loss cost trends. Non-life reinsurance net premiums written (NPW) grew by 9.8% year on year.
NPW growth is likely to continue, but at a slower pace as price increases fade and a potential recession dampens exposure growth. However, higher inflation will serve to boost premiums through increased exposure values in such lines as general liability, workers’ compensation and property.
The life and health reinsurers reported a lower USD1.6 billion of mortality losses from the pandemic in 2022. Losses in 2Q22 were at the lowest level since the start of the pandemic as insured deaths have declined.
Life and health reinsurance net premiums earned (NPE) increased at six of the eight companies. Shareholders’ equity declined 22.2% as underwriting gains were more than offset by net unrealised investment losses on bonds as interest rates rose and equities as markets slumped.
Edited & fact-checked by Oleg Parashchak – Editor-in-Chief Beinsure Media, CEO Finance Media Holding.