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Catastrophe losses limited 22 Bermuda insurers and reinsurers to $1.49 billion in profit 2011, down from $11.37 billion the previous year, according to a report released Monday.
The Hamilton, Bermuda-based Assn. of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers noted that 12 of its members reported combined ratios greater than 100% and that 10 of the 22 companies reported net losses for the year.
While net income declined sharply in 2011 vs. 2010, the group's surplus base was down only slightly from 2010 at nearly $88.84 billion.
Bradley Kading, ABIR president and executive director, said the group's underwriting discipline and diversification helped it weather the catastrophe losses.
“One of the great stories of the mega cat loss year of 2011 is that global reinsurers absorbed 45% of the $105 billion in record-setting catastrophe losses,” Mr. Kading said in a statement.
Outliers in the group included Zurich-based ACE Ltd., which posted an underwriting profit of $967 million and a combined ratio of 94.6%. Conversely, Pembroke, Bermuda-based PartnerRe Ltd. posted an underwriting loss of $999.5 million and a combined ratio of 125.4%.
Natural disasters can't be prevented, but public policy can shape the way countries cope with their aftermath, says Bradley Kading, president and executive director of the Assn. of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers. After Japan suffered an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant emergencies in March, it became apparent that the country's lack of a global network of insurance and reinsurance has and will continue to hinder its recovery, reinforcing the need for global reinsurance, Mr. Kading says.