Swiss Re reported a Group net income of USD 1.0 billion and an ROE of 8.2% in the first half of 2021, with very strong performance in the property and casualty businesses amid diminishing COVID-19-related impacts. Excluding COVID-19-related losses, Swiss Re’s net income was USD 1.7 billion, compared with USD 865 million in the same period of the prior year.
Swiss Re’s Group Chief Executive Officer Christian Mumenthaler said: “We are very pleased with the improved profitability achieved by the Group in the first half of this year. The focus on portfolio quality at P&C Re is delivering very strong results, and we are reaping the fruits of our decisive actions that brought Corporate Solutions back on track. Although L&H Re is still impacted by claims related to COVID-19 as we support our clients and society during this pandemic, its underlying business continues to perform well. All our businesses are growing, and our very strong capital position allows us to pursue attractive opportunities across all lines of business.“
Swiss Re’s Group Chief Financial Officer John Dacey said: “Our property and casualty businesses are on track to deliver on their ambitious combined ratio goals for this year. At L&H Re, we currently believe that the progress of the global vaccination programmes will lead to diminishing COVID-19 losses over the coming quarters. Swiss Re’s asset management continues to successfully navigate financial markets and deliver strong returns for the Group.“
Swiss Re reports solid premium growth and strong investment performance
Net premiums earned and fee income for the Group increased by 7.6% year on year to USD 20.8 billion. The increase was driven by growth across many property and casualty lines and significant transactions completed in L&H Re. At constant foreign exchange rates, premiums and fees increased by 3.2%.
Swiss Re achieved an ROI of 3.2% in the first half of 2021. The investment result was largely driven by recurring income as well as equity valuation gains. The Group continues to actively manage the portfolio while prioritising the preservation of sustainable income in the persistent low-yield environment.
COVID-19 losses decreased to USD 870 million in the first half of 2021 from USD 2.5 billion in the same period of 2020. The vast majority of the current losses are attributable to the L&H Re business, while the impact on the property and casualty businesses was minimal in the first six months of 2021. Swiss Re expects COVID-19-related losses in its property and casualty businesses of less than USD 200 million for the remainder of 2021.
While highly uncertain at this time, preliminary assessments of two significant events in July – flooding in Europe and social unrest in South Africa – currently indicate a combined mid-triple-digit million US dollar loss for Swiss Re. This amount remains within the Group’s large-loss expectations for the third quarter.
Swiss Re completed the streamlining of the Group’s legal entity structure, which was announced in September 2020. Since 1 July 2021, Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd is the sole direct wholly-owned operating subsidiary of Swiss Re Ltd and holds separate holding companies for the Reinsurance and Corporate Solutions Business Units, as well as the iptiQ division. The management structure remains unchanged.
P&C Re reports very strong results
P&C Re reported a net income of USD 1.2 billion in the first half of 2021, compared with a net loss of USD 519 million in the same period last year. This result reflected disciplined underwriting, continued price improvements, significantly diminishing COVID-19 impacts as well as strong investment results. The ROE was 27.2%. P&C Re’s net premiums earned grew by 8.9% to USD 10.5 billion, driven by volume and price increases as well as favourable foreign exchange developments.
Natural catastrophe losses were largely in line with expectations and amounted to USD 521 million, mainly related to US winter storm Uri in the first quarter, while large man-made losses were at USD 100 million.
The combined ratio improved to 94.4% from 115.8% in the first half of 2020. As a result of disciplined underwriting and improving margins, P&C Re is on track to achieve its normalised1 combined ratio estimate of less than 95% in 2021.
Successful July P&C Re renewals
P&C Re achieved a nominal price increase of 4% in year-to-date renewals, while the volume of treaty contracts remained largely stable at USD 16 billion. Overall price quality improved, more than offsetting the impact of decreased interest rates and adjustments to loss assumptions. In the July treaty renewals, premium volumes slightly increased, with growth in attractive natural catastrophe business in the US.
L&H Re delivers good underlying profitability
In the first half of 2021, L&H Re reported a net loss of USD 119 million in light of the continued COVID-19-related losses. These losses markedly lessened over the course of the second quarter from the first quarter. For the remainder of the year a further decrease is expected as the global vaccination programmes progress.
Excluding COVID-19 losses of USD 810 million, L&H Re’s underlying business performed well, achieving a net income of USD 530 million and an ROE of 15.5%. This was primarily driven by a strong underwriting performance across all regions and favourable investment results.
Net premiums earned and fee income increased by 12.6% to USD 7.5 billion, primarily driven by longevity transactions in the EMEA region and favourable foreign exchange developments.
Corporate Solutions continues its resurgence with high profitability and pricing momentum
Corporate Solutions reported a net income of USD 262 million in the first half of 2021, following the successful turnaround in 2020. This reflects a significant improvement compared with a COVID-19-driven net loss of USD 312 million in the prior-year period2 and was achieved in spite of large natural catastrophe losses of USD 155 million, relating to US winter storm Uri in the first quarter.
Net premiums earned rose 3.3% to USD 2.6 billion, thanks to realised rate increases and selective new business growth, while the impact of the previous portfolio pruning actions is diminishing. Year to date, Corporate Solutions achieved risk-adjusted price increases of 13%3, as the strong pricing momentum continued.
The ROE was 21.1% and the combined ratio was 92.7%, supported by favourable prior-year development. As a result of disciplined underwriting, strict expense management and continued rate increases, Corporate Solutions is on track to achieve its targeted normalised4 combined ratio of less than 97% in 2021.
Continued dynamic growth at iptiQ
iptiQ continued to deliver strong growth in the first half of 2021. Compared with the same period last year, gross premiums written for the core business rose by 133% to USD 333 million, with good contributions across all businesses and particularly dynamic growth in its property and casualty business in the EMEA region, which was launched in 2020. Likewise, iptiQ’s gross income5, excluding COVID-19-related losses of USD 5 million, increased by 53% compared with the first half of 2020 to USD 26 million in the first half of 2021.
Swiss Re’s Group Chief Executive Officer Christian Mumenthaler said: “The first half of 2021 has demonstrated the strength of our business model as we see our underwriting actions deliver results. While we remain in an uncertain pandemic situation, we are confident that all our businesses are well positioned to continue to perform strongly.“