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Hannover Re SE on Thursday reported 2018 net income of €1.06 billion ($1.19 billion), up 10.5% over 2017, despite substantial catastrophe losses and a one-time charge in life and health reinsurance.
The German reinsurer’s property/casualty business net income rose by 11% to €929 million in 2018, the company said in a statement.
Gross written premiums rose 7.8% to €19.2 billion in 2018, as business opportunities opened up in what was still a challenging market, the statement said.
Net premiums earned increased 10.6% to €17.3 billion.
Gross written premiums in property/casualty reinsurance were up 11.8% to €11.98 billion as Hannover Re expanded its structured reinsurance business, the statement said.
After moderate losses in the first half of 2018, the second half of the year saw a sharply higher volume of major losses, the reinsurer said.
Some €193 million was set aside for the California wildfires, and the reinsurer recorded total net major losses in 2018 of €849.8 million, down from a historic high of €1.1 billion in 2017, according to the statement.
“Treaty recaptures prompted by rate increases in the book of legacy U.S. mortality business resulted in a charge to EBIT of €272.6 million,” Hannover Re added.
The combined ratio improved to 96.5% in 2018 compared with 99.8% in 2017.
Despite high catastrophe losses, capacity in the traditional and ILS markets remains abundant, and as a result prices and conditions in property lines remain under pressure, the reinsurer said.
Talanx A.G., parent of Hannover Re and one of Germany’s largest insurance groups, is consolidating specialty operations into a new company, HDI Global Specialty S.E., beginning Jan. 1, 2019, Talanx, Hannover Re and HDI Global said in a joint statement Friday.