Swiss Re AG first quarter profit down 11 percent to $1.2B

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Zurich, Switzerland (4E) – Swiss Re AG reported an 11 percent decline in first-quarter profit due to strong underwriting and relatively fewer natural disasters as the company also selected a new chief risk officer.

Swiss Re said net profit fell to $1.2bn in the first quarter, compared with $1.4bn in the year-ago period. Swiss Re said the fall is a reflection of the exceptional gains in the first quarter of 2013, when the company agreed on a $610mn settlement with Berkshire Hathaway Inc. over shared insurance of some policies.

The reinsurer said its property-and-casualty segment contributed the most to its results. Policy renewals in April climbed 14 percent in terms of volume, the company said.

The Zurich-based reinsurer also said Patrick Raaflaub will become the group’s chief risk officer starting Sept. 1. Mr. Raaflaub resigned earlier this year as Switzerland’s top financial markets regulator.

The company said its largest individual business segment—the property-and-casualty reinsurance–saw premiums increase nearly 8 percent to $3.8bn with net profit almost flat at $1bn.

The division’s combined ratio–a key gauge of profitability that compares how much the company receives in premiums and how much is its payout–was 78.8 percent.

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