Life insurance income ‘rebounds’ at Swiss Re as payouts fall

Life insurance income ‘rebounds’ at Swiss Re as payouts fall

Swiss Re, a company which protects insurers from big losses on major claims, has seen its life and health business rebound to profitability after posting a multi-million dollar loss last year.

This morning (October 28) it reported a net income in this part of the business totalling $221mn (£192mn) for the first nine months of 2022, compared with a net loss of $32mn (£28mn) over the same period last year.

The reinsurer said the value of Covid-19-related claims halved, from $1.2bn (£1bn) to $608mn (£528mn).

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Still making a loss in the first quarter, the life business returned to profitability in the second and third quarters.

Net premiums earned and fee income has remained largely unchanged so far this year, at $11.2bn (£9.7bn) - increasing 4 per cent.

Individual payouts for protection policies rose 9 per cent last year, continuing on a three-year upward trend. 

Payouts for Covid-19 related individual claims almost doubled in 2021, reaching a collective value of £261mn, despite the number of claims paid remaining “almost identical” to 2020.

According to data published by the Association of British Insurers back in May, there was a 69 per cent increase in term assurance claims, where the average payment reached £69,760.

Swiss Re’s results point to a slow down this year in Covid-19 payouts across the industry.

‘A year of confluence’

Across the wider business, Swiss Re posted a net loss of $285mn (£247mn) between January and September this year, in large part down to a $442mn (£384mn) loss in the third quarter following claims from Hurricane Ian - reportedly the deadliest hurricane to strike Florida since 1935.

Swiss Re's group chief executive, Christian Mumenthaler, said the first nine months of the year were “marked by a confluence”, from turbulence in the financial markets, to an increase in natural catastrophe claims, surging inflation and the war in Ukraine.

The life and health reinsurance business subverted these headwinds. Swiss Re said this arm was “on track” to reach its net income target of $300mn (£260mn) for 2022.