ROE of 3.6% compared with 2.3% in 2009

Swiss Re has reported strong profit growth in 2010, despite large catastrophe losses.

The reinsurer recorded a full-year net profit of US$863m, up 74% on $496m in 2009.

The full-year combined operating ratio was 93.9%, compared to 88.3% in 2009, which Swiss Re noted to be 3 percentage points higher than expected.

Swiss Re also reported a return on equity of 3.6%, up from 2.3% in 2009.

Swiss Re has taken a hit from recent natural catastrophes in Australia. It estimates claims relating to December flooding in Queensland to be $100m - net of retrocession and before tax.

The company’s preliminary estimate of claims relating to Queensland floods in the first quarter of 2011 is $225m, while claims from February's Cyclone Yasi will be approximately $100m.

Swiss Re reports its plans to establish a new holding structure which includes existing reinsurance business and two new entities Corporate Solutions and AdminRe is now underway.

The new holding company structure will be established through an exchange offer. Shareholders will be invited to exchange their shares in Swiss Re for new shares in the holding company, on a one-for-one basis and subject to applicable securities laws.