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Swiss Re Ltd. reported lower net income in the first quarter of 2016 amid low interest rates and declining reinsurance prices, but saw gains in premium income reflecting profitable growth in select markets and lines of business, the reinsurer announced on Friday.
Net income fell 14.7%, to $1.2 billion from $1.4 billion in the 2015 quarter, according to the company's first quarter 2016 earnings report. However, premiums earned and fee income reached $7.9 billion in the first three months of 2016, up 5% from a year earlier.
“The overall environment remained challenging during the first quarter, in which low interest rates and declining reinsurance prices continued to make their mark on the entire industry,” Michel Liès, Swiss Re's group CEO, said in a statement. “However, our strategic framework helped us navigate these market pressures. We continued to successfully differentiate ourselves through outstanding relationships with our clients and the development of tailored risk solutions, which resulted in several unique reinsurance transactions. We also made good progress on integrating Guardian Financial Services into Life Capital, which is already showing a strong contribution to our bottom line.”
Life Capital Ltd., created at the start of 2016, reported net income of $321 million in the first quarter, supported by the acquisition of Guardian Financial Services Co. Inc., which was completed on Jan. 6, according to the insurer.
The company's P&C Reinsurance unit reported net income of $587 million in the first quarter, down 27.4% from $808 million a year earlier, according to the earnings report. Net premiums rose 5%, to $4 billion from $3.8 billion a year earlier, amid large transactions in the United States and Europe.
“The quarter benefited from the absence of large nat cats, partially offset by some unfavorable prior-year developments, mainly related to 2010 and 2011 New Zealand earthquakes and asbestos,” Swiss Re's Group Chief Financial Officer David Cole said in a video presentation.
Swiss Re's L&H Reinsurance division reported net income of $244 million, down 11.9% from $277 million a year earlier, mainly due to lower realized investment gains, according to the company. Premiums earned and fee income rose 8.7%, to $2.8 billion from $2.6 billion, amid several large transactions in the U.S., U.K. and Australia.
“We continue to see attractive opportunities for profitable growth in life and health reinsurance,” Mr. Cole said.
The company announced several leadership changes in response to the upcoming retirement of Mr. Liès, who will be succeeded by Christian Mumenthaler, CEO Reinsurance, on July 1. Moses Ojeisekhoba, regional president and CEO Reinsurance, Asia, will become the new CEO Reinsurance, and Jayne Plunkett, currently Head Casualty Reinsurance, will succeed Mr. Ojeisekhoba, also July 1.
“I am excited about these two announcements as both Moses and Jayne are very strong leaders with impressive track records,” Mr. Mumenthaler said in a statement.
Philipp Kusche has joined TigerRisk Partners L.L.C. as partner and global head of insurance-linked securities and capital solutions, the Stamford, Connecticut-based reinsurance broker and risk/capital management and strategic advisory firm announced Monday.