Here for the
long term

2019 ANNUAL REVIEW

“MORE THAN EVER, WE HOPE TO CONTINUE TO PARTNER WITH YOU IN DEVELOPING YOUR RESPONSE AND PROVIDING YOUR REINSURANCE SOLUTION AS WE NAVIGATE THESE UNCERTAIN TIMES TOGETHER.”

“WE ARE AS READY AS EVER TO DELIVER OUR VALUE PROPOSITION, AND WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR THE PRIVILEGE TO BE PART OF YOUR SOLUTION."

Charlie Shamieh
Chairman,
General Re Corporation
Kara Raiguel
President & CEO,
General Re Corporation
Charlie Shamieh
Chairman,
General Re Corporation
Kara Raiguel
President & CEO,
General Re Corporation

As we sit here in early May, it is hard to look back on the 2019 calendar year and talk routinely about the numbers: our growth, our industry catastrophes and our market environment, without relating to the present and the havoc being caused by that invisible enemy, COVID-19. The global pandemic inescapably preoccupies our thoughts, it influences our actions, fears and hopes for the future, in our industry and our local communities.

Like many of you, we began 2020 looking first and foremost to do everything we could to secure the safety of our associates around the globe and ensure that they could continue to serve you, our clients. Gen Re’s financial strength, underwriting capabilities and deep experience have been delivered to our clients through this crisis with our complete focus and commitment. We have been lining up our brightest heads, who collaborate relentlessly across geographies, time zones and academic disciplines to share our best advice for the safety and protection of your franchises and the customers that you serve. Each of our business areas has reached out to its clients to provide our research and insights into the ongoing effects of the pandemic. More than ever, we hope to continue to partner with you in developing your response and providing your reinsurance solution as we navigate these uncertain times together.

In 2019 we grew our top line by almost 15% to over USD 10 billion and our equity strengthened to over USD 15 billion. We ended the year with the lowest underwriting leverage and highest financial strength ratings of unaffiliated peer reinsurers.

In Property/Casualty, we grew our top line by over 21% and our combined ratio was 96.8%, a modest improvement on the prior year. We benefited from a relatively benign natural catastrophe burden globally (with Japan being the notable exception) but experienced heightened losses in our U.S. Casualty book, especially with rising tort costs and increased frequency of high severity claims.

In Life/Health, we grew our top line by over 7% and took a charge through our P&L of USD 140 million from the lower interest rate environment in both our U.S. and International Life businesses, since we invest predominantly in very short-dated/highly liquid assets to protect ourselves from tail events – such as the one we are experiencing right now. Accordingly, we recorded an underwriting result of negative USD 31 million for the calendar year. Our Life/Health underwriting results were also challenged by mortality experience in our U.S. business and Disability experience in our Australian business.

At times like these, we are reminded of the need to be grateful for what we have. At Gen Re, we are grateful for the incredible resilience and adaptability of our associates around the world in their response to this global pandemic, and we are grateful for the patient and formidable strength of our parent company, Berkshire Hathaway. Above all else, we are grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve you, our clients, as we strive to collectively make a difference in our local communities, our industry and to the safety and peace of mind of individuals and families around the globe.

On behalf of all Gen Re associates, thank you again for the trust you have placed in us.

charlie-kara-sigs-2018
General Re Corporation  |  Fiscal Year 2019  |  Unaudited*

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

32,790

TOTAL INVESTMENTS

45,912

TOTAL ASSETS

24,304

UNDERWRITING RESERVES

15,432

SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY

10,143

NET PREMIUMS WRITTEN

96.8 %

P/C COMBINED RATIO

(31)

L/H UNDERWRITING RESULT

17,422

P/C FLOAT**

5,388

L/H FLOAT**

*Amounts in millions of U.S. dollars.

Underwriting results exclude the impact of intercompany loss portfolio, quota share and excess of loss retrocessional agreements between General Re Corporation and Berkshire Hathaway affiliates.

Realized gains/losses include $2,322 of unrealized gains and $2,046 of unrealized losses on equity securities, in 2019 and 2018, respectively, under new US GAAP requirements introduced in 2018.

**Float is the approximate amount of net policyholder funds generated through underwriting activities that is available for investment. The major components of float are unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses, life and health benefit liabilities, unearned premiums and other policyholder liabilities less premium and reinsurance receivables, deferred policy acquisition costs and deferred charges on reinsurance contracts.

 
FINANCIAL SUMMARY
General Re Corporation  |  Fiscal Year 2019

FINANCIAL RATINGS

A.M. BEST
A++
MOODY’S
Aa1
STANDARD & POOR’S
AA+