Reinsurance - Statistics & Facts

Reinsurance is insurance that is purchased by an insurance company from one or more other insurance companies. The transfer of portions of risk portfolios to other parties or ‘cedents’ by some form of agreement is an arrangement that exists with the aim of reducing the likelihood of having to pay large obligations resulting from an insurance claim. Reinsuring is sometimes known as ‘insurance for insurers’ or ‘stop loss insurance’ as it solely exists with the aim of preventing losses to primary insurers by spreading risks across alternative institutions.

Swiss Re topped the list of the largest reinsurers worldwide in 2015 with net premiums amounting to approx. 34 billion U.S. dollars in that year. In the United States in 2015, the National Indemnity Company, a subsidiary of American multinational conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc., topped the list of American reinsurers by net premiums earned, amounting to 17 billion U.S. dollars in this period.

Reinsurers play an important role in managing climate and natural disaster risk. In 2015, natural disasters cost the global insurance industry around 27 billion U.S. dollars. Hurricane Katrina, which hit in 2005, was one of the most expensive natural disasters for the insurance industry, as well as one of the deadliest hurricanes recorded in the United States. Insured losses resulting from Katrina amounted exceeded 60.5 billion U.S. dollars, total losses for the category 5 hurricane amounted to twice that at round 125 billion U.S. dollars.

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Reinsurance - Important statistics

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