Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers releases collective 2009 underwriting results; members account for 18% of global premium.

The Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR) today released the 2009 global underwriting results for its 23 member (re)insurers. The companies write insurance and reinsurance from underwriting centers in Bermuda, Europe and the United States. The 23 (re)insurers wrote $61 billion in global gross written premium on a capital and surplus base of $84 billion. They reported net income of $12.4 billion and had an average combined ratio of 85%. The premium to surplus ratio for the group as a whole was .73 to 1.

Year 2009 was a recovery year for (re)insurers everywhere, and this was reflected in the ABIR results. Capital and surplus grew 33% ($63bn to $84bn) from 2008 to 2009. When removing the anomalous results from the 2008 financial crises, capital and surplus can be viewed as growing 16% ($73bn to $84bn) from 2007 to 2009. Insurers performed well during the financial crisis, so the 2009 results show the ABIR membership moving from “strength to greater strength.” 2008 results were also impacted by extraordinary catastrophe losses including Hurricane Ike; while 2009 was characterised as a benign catastrophe loss year.

Premium written has remained flat during the three year period 2007, 2008 and 2009. ABIR members reported $59bn in global gross written premium in 2007, $61bn in 2008 and $61bn in 2009. Net income in 2009 was reported at $12.4bn. This compares to a $125 million loss in 2008. The net income is up 8% ($11.5bn to $12.4bn) when comparing 2007 to 2009.

Approximately 59% of ABIR member premium is insurance although six ABIR members wrote only reinsurance. ABIR members include 16 of the top 35 global reinsurers as measured by AM Best. The ABIR membership wrote approximately 18% of the global reinsurance premium (2008); and is estimated to write 40% of the property catastrophe reinsurance premium for European (broker) and US insurance markets. The ABIR member groups write about 30% of the Lloyds of London premium. The companies write primarily wholesale commercial property and casualty insurance and reinsurance.

When measured by gross premium the six largest ABIR members are: ACE Limited, XL Capital Limited, Partner Re Limited, Catlin Group Limited, Arch Capital Group Limited and Axis Capital Holdings Limited. When measured by capital and surplus, the six largest ABIR members are: ACE limited, XL Capital Limited, Partner Re Limited, Axis Capital Holdings Limited, Arch Capital Group Limited and Validus Holdings Limited.

ABIR members employed (year end 2008) 31,000 people worldwide including 1,800 in Bermuda, 16,000 in the US and more than 7,000 in Europe.