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Munich Reinsurance Co. remains No. 1 in Business Insurance's annual ranking of the world's largest reinsurers for the 10th consecutive year, based on an estimated $12.47 billion of net reinsurance premiums in 1997.

Munich Re does not yet report American Re-insurance Co., which it acquired in 1996, as part of its consolidated results. BI, therefore, made a pro forma combination of the two, using American Re's results for the period comparable to Munich Re's fiscal 1997.

Munich Re Group's estimated premiums account for 18% of the $68.63 billion in net reinsurance premiums reported by the Top 20 for 1997.

Second-ranked Swiss Re Group reported $11.11 billion in net reinsurance premiums in 1997.

Employers Reinsurance Group moves up to the No. 3 position thanks to a 33% increase in net premiums to $7.87 billion. That figure does not include Kemper Reinsurance Cos., which Employers Re's parent, G.E. Capital Services Inc., offered to buy late last month (BI, Aug. 3). Including Kemper Re, Employers Re's net premiums would reach $8.67 billion.

Berkshire Hathaway Group's pending acquisition of General Reinsurance Corp. is reflected in a BI estimate of $7.5 billion in net premiums written, which ranks the combined entity as No. 4.

Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. rounds out the top five, based on $6.42 billion in net reinsurance premiums written.

Two companies are gone from this year's rankings as a result of declines in net premiums: Caisse Centrale de Reassurance, which ranked as No. 18 a year ago; and Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Ltd., which previously ranked as No. 20.

New to the rankings are: CNA Re, which is No. 16 with $976.3 million in net premiums; and Reinsurance Group of America, a life reinsurer that stands at No. 20 with $835.5 million in net premiums.

Not included in the Business Insurance rankings is Lloyd's of London, because it cannot provide comparable net reinsurance volume figures. However, Lloyd's would rank among the world's largest reinsurers based on $2.69 billion in gross treaty reinsurance premiums in 1996. That amount does not include reinsurance premiums paid to other syndicates.

A chart provided more detailed information on the results of the Top 20 reinsurers appears on page 50.

Also in this issue are articles on:

* Efforts by Bermuda companies to tap into capital markets risk financing, page 6.

* Prospects in the Latin American reinsurance market, page 12.

* Australian companies' growing role in international reinsurance, page 15.

* The International Underwriting Assn.'s plans for the future, page 23.

* Reinsurers' position regarding Y2K coverage questions, page 24.

* The 10th annual directory of international reinsurers, page 35.