The first half financial results reported by a group of six reinsurers over the past week generally show a strong return to profits after last year’s challenging market conditions. A wrap-up of these H1 results follows for Swiss Re, Everest Re, SCOR, AXIS Capital, PartnerRe, RenaissanceRe – listed by the size of their H1 net income.
All the reinsurers reported underwriting profits.
Swiss Re reported net income of US$1.0 billion in the first half of 2020, compared to a loss of US$1.1 billion during the same period last year.
Swiss Re’s P&C Re segment reported net income of US$1.2 billion in the first half, compared to a net loss of US$519 million in the same period last year. The Corporate Solutions unit reported a net income of US$262 million in the first half of 2021, compared with a COVID-19-driven net loss of US$312 million for the H1 2020.
P&C Re’s H1 combined ratio was 94.4%, compared with 115.8% in 2020. Corporate Solutions’ combined ratio was 92.7%, versus 118.7% in 2020. (Combined ratios above 100% indicate an underwriting loss).
P&C Re achieved a nominal price increase of 4% in year-to-date renewals, while the volume of treaty contracts remained largely stable at USD 16 billion. Overall price quality improved, more than offsetting the impact of decreased interest rates and adjustments to loss assumptions. In the July treaty renewals, premium volumes slightly increased, with growth in attractive natural catastrophe business in the US.
COVID-19 losses decreased to US$870 million in the first half of 2021 from US$2.5 billion in the same period of 2020. Swiss Re said the vast majority of the current losses are attributable to the L&H Re business, while the impact on the property and casualty businesses was minimal in the first six months of 2021.
Swiss Re expects COVID-19-related losses in its property and casualty businesses of less than US$200 million for the remainder of 2021.
In the first half of 2021, L&H Re reported a net loss of US$119 million in light of the continued COVID-19-related losses, combined with net income of $74 million during H1 last year.
Swiss Re’s Group Chief Executive Officer Christian Mumenthaler said: “We are very pleased with the improved profitability achieved by the group in the first half of this year. The focus on portfolio quality at P&C Re is delivering very strong results, and we are reaping the fruits of our decisive actions that brought Corporate Solutions back on track.”
“Swiss Re’s profit of $1 billion at H1 despite having to increase its COVID-related loss provisions by $870 million is testament to the expected improvement in the underlying performance across its business divisions. Strong results from the P&C reinsurance and Corporate Solutions businesses comfortably outweighed a loss in the Life & Health business as a result of significant additional COVID-related mortality losses,” commented Dominic Simpson, Moody’s analyst.
“Rate increases achieved at the renewals during 2021 will further benefit the group’s underlying profitability, although Q3 has got off to a difficult start for Swiss Re and its peers with significant losses expected from the European floods in July,” he continued.
Everest Re reported net income of $1.02 billion through the first half of 2021, compared with $207.5 million during H1 last year. The company’s second quarter net income was $680 million, compared to $190.9 million in Q2 2020.
Everest’s H1 combined ratio is 93.6%, compared with 98.1% for the same period in 2020.
“Everest had an excellent quarter across the board with very strong growth and outstanding underwriting and investment performance. These results serve as the foundation for our exceptional net income result of $1.02 billion through the first half of 2021 and are another important step toward achieving our strategic plan objectives,” commented Everest Re Group President & CEO Juan C. Andrade.
“Everest capitalized on market opportunities to expand our franchises in both reinsurance and insurance, driven by the relentless execution of our strategies and the valuable risk solutions provided to our customers and broker partners. Our focus on disciplined underwriting drove strong profitability in both reinsurance and insurance across our global operations,” he continued.
SCOR reported net income of €380 million ($451.2 million) during H1 2021, compared with €26 million ($30.9 million) reported during the same period last year. The company’s second quarter net income was €335 million ($398 million), compared with a loss of €136 million ($161.5 million) in Q2 2020.
The net combined ratio stands at 97.2%, including 9.4% of natural catastrophes and 3.6% of COVID-19 related claims.
The reinsurer said its underlying performance of the business continues to be strong, reflecting the successful recent P/C renewals in 2020 and 2021, on the back of a disciplined re/insurance market environment, with attractive growth prospects.
“In the first six months of 2021, SCOR once again demonstrates the strength of its business model and the relevance of its strategy. The group continues to expand its franchise, in both Life and P&C, and delivers a robust underlying performance despite natural catastrophes, the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and the low-yield environment,” commented Laurent Rousseau, chief executive officer of SCOR, in a statement. “SCOR is very well positioned to capture profitable growth opportunities, in particular in the P/C re/insurance market where pricing and terms & conditions are increasingly attractive.”
“SCOR’s result for the first half of 2021, on an underlying basis, confirms the positive trajectory seen in the first quarter of the year, although reserve strengthening highlights the inherent uncertainty related to the ultimate COVID-19 claims bill,” said Moody’s analyst Christian Badorff.
“The results benefit from a sizable one-off related to the life book transaction following the settlement agreement with Covéa, which strengthens the group’s solvency and liquidity positions,” Badorff continued. (SCOR and Covéa recently rebuilt their re/insurance business relationship after settling several years of legal battles, which followed Covéa’s unsuccessful bid to buy SCOR in 2018).
“In P&C, the normalized combined ratio continues to benefit from strong pricing momentum, although underwriting performance is negatively affected by above average natural catastrophe activity and by reserve strengthening for prior-year COVID-19 claims,” Badorff said.
AXIS Capital reported net income available to common shareholders for the six months ended June 30, 2021 of $344 million, compared to a net loss attributable to common shareholders of $73 million for the same period in 2020. Second quarter net income was $228 million, compared to $112 million for the second quarter of 2020.
AXIS’ combined ratio for the half was 94.7%, compared with 107.1% in H1 2020 (an underwriting loss).
“Our continued progress in underwriting performance provides tangible proof that our efforts to reposition our portfolio are delivering meaningful improvements,” said Albert Benchimol, President and CEO of AXIS Capital in a statement.
“Our insurance business is well positioned in the markets experiencing the strongest conditions, leading to 22% growth in gross premiums written to achieve a record level of premium production. Our reinsurance business demonstrated agility and discipline, growing in attractive classes, but also holding the line where terms were not deemed sufficiently attractive, and continuing to manage down catastrophe volatility,” he continued.
During the first quarter, AXIS recorded average rate increases of 14% across its insurance book, which, Benchimol said is higher than the previous quarter and on par with the prior year period.
“[W]e remain confident that pricing will remain at or above loss cost trends well into 2022 and likely beyond, providing a tailwind to ongoing improvements in underwriting profitability.”
PartnerRe reported net income available to common shareholders of $248 million for the first half, compared to a loss of $204 million for the same period of 2020. The reinsurer’s second quarter net income available to common shareholders was $314 million, compared to income of $229 million for the same period of 2020.
PartnerRe’s Non-life underwriting profit was $150 million (combined ratio of 88.6%) for the second quarter of 2021, and $190 million (combined ratio of 92.4%) for the half year 2021. This compares to a Non-life underwriting loss of $260 million (combined ratio of 121.3%) and $306 million (combined ratio of 112.6%) for the second quarter and half year 2020, respectively.
“We delivered strong results in the second quarter with an annualized operating ROE of 8.8%, and I am pleased to see the positive impacts of our portfolio actions begin to show through our financial result,” said PartnerRe President and Chief Executive Officer Jacques Bonneau, in a statement.
“Our Non-life combined ratio of 88.6% [for the second quarter] includes improvements in the current accident year loss ratio from business mix changes and overall favorable pricing conditions across most lines of business, as well as improvements in prior years’ reserve development as older underwriting years run off,” he confirmed.
“These underwriting results, combined with good investment performance, helped produce solid profitability for the second quarter of 2021,” Bonneau continued.
RenaissanceRe reported net income available to common shareholders for the first half of 2021 of $165.9 million, down from $493.9 million reported for the same period last year. During the second quarter, the reinsurer reported net income available to common shareholders of $456.8 million, compared with $575.9 million for Q2 2020.
RenRe’s combined ratio for the first half of this year was 87.5%, compared with 85.4% in H1 2020.
“Year-to-date, we have grown net premiums written by $886 million, or 36%, and remain on track to grow well over $1 billion,” said RenRe’s CFO Bob Qutub during a recent analysts’ teleconference on the second quarter results.