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Reinsurers report higher profits in first half

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A single reinsurer's performance drove a cumulative 32.2% drop in net written premiums during the first half of this year to $19.28 billion among 18 U.S. property/casualty reinsurers tracked by the Reinsurance Association of America.

Regardless of the drop in net written premiums, net income for the group increased 8.8% year-over-year to $6.45 billion. Policyholder surplus dropped 8.0% to $131.38 billion, while the collective combined ratio remained virtually flat at 92.4% for the first half of 2015 compared with 92.3% during the first six months of 2014, according to the Washington-based RAA.

The decrease in net written premium is “largely attributable” to a one company among those surveyed, the RAA said.

That company was National Indemnity Co., whose net written premiums fell 52.2% from those of the first six months of 2014 to $ 8.47 billion, due mostly to a one-time consideration of a loss portfolio contract with affiliates of Geico Group that was booked in the first quarter of 2014.

Among other reinsurers participating in the RAA survey, QBE North America's net written premiums increased 35.8% year-over-year to $1.59 billion.

In a recent report, Moody's Investors Service said it was placing parent QBE Insurance Group Ltd.'s debt rating under review for a possible upgrade.

“In particular, Moody's will consider in its rating review the future business positioning of the group's North American operations, which may impact the group's earnings and profitability profile,” the New York-based rating agency said in a statement. “Moody's will also evaluate the group's strategy for returning the North American operations to stronger profitability, characterized by higher insurance margins and lower combined operating ratios.”

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