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Net written premiums rose 3.8% to $158.6 billion in 2018 as the global reinsurance sector saw its combined ratio improve to 102.3% from 110.1%, according to a report Thursday from A.M. Best Co. Inc.
The combined ratio for 2018, however, was still higher than the five-year average of 97.6%, data from the report showed.
The outlook for the global reinsurance sector remains stable, having been moved there from negative in December 2018, Oldwick, New Jersey-based Best said.
Property/casualty reinsurance pricing “appears to be developing more favorable momentum,” Best said.
“It’s clear that the glory days of a robust non-life pricing environment may not return. However, rates have improved modestly,” Best said.
Ranked by unaffiliated gross premium written in 2018, Swiss Re Ltd. was the world’s largest reinsurer, with a total of $36.4 billion, of which $20.9 was property/casualty.
Munich Reinsurance Co. was second with a total of $35.8 billion, $23.4 billion property/casualty; Hannover Re SE was third with at $21.9 billion total and $13.7 billion property/casualty; and Scor SE was fourth, with $17.5 billion total and $7.1 billion property/casualty, according to data in the report.
“Swiss Re and Munich Re are likely to continue to compete for first place for the foreseeable future. Together, the two account for nearly 30% of total GPW in this year’s ranking,” Best said, adding that “the top 10 players account for 68% of GPW in the Top 50 ranking.”
The ratings agency went on to say this concentration “reinforces the sentiment that the industry’s largest reinsurers continue to house disproportionately sizable amounts of risk, despite cedents’ efforts to diversify their reinsurance panels and spread out their counterparty risk.”
The collective market share of the top 10 reinsurers has consistently been approximately 70% over the past several years, Best said
Net premiums written for a group of 17 U.S. property/casualty reinsurers dropped to $13.67 billion during the three months ended March 31 compared with $15.37 billion for the same period in 2018, the Reinsurance Association of America said Thursday.