Property & Casualty Reinsurance

Property & Casualty Reinsurance (P&C Re) reported a net income for 2019 of USD 396 million compared with USD 370 million in 2018. The result reflected large natural catastrophe and man-made losses of USD 2.3 billion as well as proactive measures to address ongoing trends in US casualty. This was balanced by profitable business growth, driven by large transactions and growth in natural catastrophe business, as well as by a very strong investment result. The large natural catastrophe losses were mainly driven by typhoons Hagibis and Faxai in Japan, Hurricane Dorian in the Atlantic and wildfires, floods and hailstorms in Australia. The result was further impacted by late claims development for Typhoon Jebi. In addition, large man-made losses included the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the subsequent grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX fleet. The net operating margin decreased from 4.3% to 3.8%.

The investment result increased by 68.8% to USD 2.3 billion, driven by gains on sales of fixed income securities and market value gains on equity securities. The return on investments was 4.3%.

Property & Casualty Reinsurance results

USD millions



Change in %





Gross premiums written

16 545

21 562


Net premiums written

16 098

20 882


Change in unearned premiums


–1 607

Premiums earned

16 095

19 275


Net investment income

1 380

1 419


Net realised investment gains/losses



Other revenues




Total revenues

17 495

21 595










Claims and claim adjustment expenses

–11 614

–14 783


Acquisition costs

–4 012

–4 810


Operating expenses

–1 114

–1 189


Total expenses before interest expenses

–16 740

–20 782






Income before interest and income tax expense




Interest expenses




Income before income tax expense




Income tax expense




Net income attributable to common shareholders








Claims ratio in %




Expense ratio in %




Combined ratio in %





Gross premiums written increased by 30.3% to USD 21.6 billion in 2019. Net premiums earned were USD 19.3 billion for 2019, up from USD 16.1 billion in the prior period. The increase was driven by large transactions in the Americas and EMEA, as well as growth in the natural catastrophe business.

Combined ratio

The P &C Re combined ratio was 107.8% in 2019, compared with a reported combined ratio of 104.0% in 2018. The impact from natural catastrophes of USD 1.9 billion in 2019 was 3.5 percentage points above the expected level for the year. The unfavourable prior-year development negatively impacted the combined ratio by 3.5 percentage points in 2019.

Administrative expense ratio1

The administrative expense ratio decreased to 6.2% in 2019 from 6.9% in 2018, reflecting higher net premiums while expenses remained contained.

Lines of business

Premiums earned by line of business, 2019

Total: USD 19.3 billion

Premiums earned by line of business 2019 (pie chart)

The property combined ratio increased to 101.3% in 2019, compared with 99.9% a year earlier. While both periods were impacted by large natural catastrophe losses, the deterioration was driven by an adverse prior-year development in 2019, mainly due to late claims from Typhoon Jebi, partly compensated by reserve releases from large losses.

The casualty combined ratio increased to 116.6% in 2019, up from 110.6% in 2018.

The specialty combined ratio deteriorated to 95.3% in 2019 compared with 93.4% in 2018. The current period included the impact of the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the subsequent Boeing 737 MAX fleet grounding, partly offset by favourable prior-year developments, mainly in marine and credit & surety businesses.

Investment result

The return on investments was 4.3% for 2019, up from 2.4% in 2018, reflecting an increase in the investment result of USD 1 080 million, mainly driven by additional net realised gains.

Net investment income increased by USD 36 million to USD 1 310 million for 2019, driven by a higher invested asset base.

Net realised gains, were USD 985 million for 2019 compared with net realised losses of USD 63 million for the prior period. The increase was driven by both additional gains on sales of fixed income securities and market value gains on equity securities, given strong equity market performance.

Insurance-related investment results and foreign exchange gains/losses are not included in the figures above.

Shareholders’ equity

Shareholders’ equity decreased to USD 8.3 billion as of 31 December 2019 from USD 9.5 billion on 31 December 2018, primarily driven by dividends paid to the Group of USD 1.4 billion and the capitalisation of inter-segmental payables and receivables following a change in presentation of historic inter-company expense balances. This was partially offset by the net changes in unrealised gains/losses and net income. The return on equity for 2019 was 4.4% compared with 3.7% in 2018.


Renewals of loss-affected natural catastrophe business in January 2020 experienced favourable rate increases. Property insurance rates are generally hardening for business exposed to tropical cyclones and in loss-affected areas. In other areas the rates are broadly stable.

The Business Unit observed rate increases for loss-affected lines and markets within specialty lines and otherwise stable terms and conditions.

For casualty, Swiss Re saw strong rate increases in the US for Excess of Loss treaty business, and improvements on proportional treaty business supported by the material rate increases on the primary side as a response to the growing loss trends. In EMEA and Asia, the outlook for casualty rates is stable.

The Business Unit continues to see some good opportunities for transactions and will participate in those that meet its return requirements.

Swiss Re is closely monitoring the developments of the current SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic. Depending on further developments, the Business Unit may see an impact on contingency coverages it provided, e.g. event cancellation covers.

1 Operating expenses divided by premiums earned