GWP up 10% to €45.5bn

German reinsurance group Munich Re hit its profit targets, despite major catastrophe losses in the fourth quarter of 2010.

In November, Munich Re has raised its full-year 2010 profit target to €2.4bn from €2bn.

The reinsurer met the revised target, recording a net profit of €2.43bn for the full year of 2010, but down slightly from the €2.56bn it made in 2009.

Gross premiums written by the group in 2010 rose by almost 10% to €45.5bn from €41.4bn in 2009.

Munich Re’s combined ratio in property-casualty reinsurance was 100.5% of net earned premiums for the year as a whole - up from 95.3% the previous year.

The single largest individual loss for the group in the fourth quarter stemmed from flooding in Queensland in December, with claims costs of around €0.27bn.

Munich Re also warned of similar claims costs from ongoing flooding and storm damage in the first quarter of 2011.

Additionally, the reinsurer announced a further share buy-back program. Shares with a volume of up to €500m are to be repurchased before the Annual General Meeting in 2012.

Jefferies analyst James Shuck has expressed disappointment at the size of the buyback. He added: “This may raise questions about the level of capitalisation at the German holding company.