SEPTEMBER 03, 2020 07:34 AM (EDT)

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

 Scott Mangan
Associate Director
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5593

Dan Hofmeister, CFA, CAIA, CPCU, ARe
Financial Analyst
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5385

Edem Kuenyehia
Director, Market Development
& Communications
+44 20 7397 0280

Jim Peavy
Director, Public Relations
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5644


OLDWICK - SEPTEMBER 03, 2020 07:34 AM (EDT)
Swiss Re Ltd. maintained the top spot in AM Best’s annual ranking of the Top 50 Global Reinsurance groups in 2019 for the second-straight year, and widened its lead over the No. 2-ranked Munich Reinsurance Company, as detailed in the new Best’s Market Segment Report, “Global Reinsurers Maintain Equilibrium Through COVID-19 Turbulence.” The ranking is based on reinsurance gross premiums written (GPW).

Swiss Re posted a GPW increase of 16% in 2019 to USD 42.2 billion, driven predominantly by a 25.1% increase in non-life business on large transactions in the Americas and EMEA, along with growth in the group’s natural catastrophe business and rate activity in underperforming lines. “Swiss Re and Munich Re will likely continue to occupy the top two spots on the list, as they accounted for nearly 30% of the Top 50’s total GPW in 2019, further demonstrating the dominance of large reinsurers at the top of the list,” said Scott Mangan, associate director, AM Best.

Nine of the top 10 reinsurers held onto their ranking from the previous year. Despite the consistency, Hannover Ruck SE reported GPW growth of 15.8%; China Reinsurance (Group) Corporation, 13.8%; and Great West Lifeco, 31.2%. The top 10 accounted for 69% of the top 50’s total GPW. In recent years, this percentage has consistently been around 70%, 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 reported an average combined ratio of 102.4 in 2019, a modest deterioration from the 2018 combined ratio of 100.9. Losses were driven primarily by social inflation in U.S. casualty business and typhoons in Asia, as well as loss creep from 2018 storms. As the market continues to harden, pricing changes should help improve underlying combined ratios. However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a wide variance in performance metrics in 2020.

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

  • The largest upward movement was by Validus Reinsurance, Ltd., which moved up five spots to 28, as its GPW grew by 39.1% in 2019. W. R. Berkeley also moved up five spots to No. 45;

  • Two sub-rankings of top non-life and life global reinsurers, which highlights reinsurance groups that hold a true global footprint or business profile; and

  • 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 mortgage 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 . A video interview with AM Best Financial Analyst Dan Hofmeister on the Top 50 Global Reinsurance group ranking also can be viewed at .

AM Best also will host its annual reinsurance market briefing as a virtual event on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, from 10:15 a.m.–11:45 a.m. (CEST). To more information and to register, please visit . AM Best will hold a second virtual market briefing on Tuesday, Sept. 22. More information and registration can be found at .

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City.