Swiss Re and Munich Re both strike upbeat notes

SWISS RE and Munich Re both declared sunnier outlooks yesterday, following a turbulent 12 months for the insurance market.

Swiss Re posted an 18 per cent rise in net income to $960m (£588.9m), ahead of expectations, thanks to higher demand for catastrophe cover in the US, New Zealand and Australia.

“The reinsurance market has started to turn, and Swiss Re expects further improvements over the next 6-18 months,” the firm said in a statement.

The group said it had no exposure to Greek sovereign bonds and held a total of $78m in peripheral Eurozone state debt.

Meanwhile Munich Re said it expects to be profitable this year after rising premiums helped offset a hit from tornadoes in the US and writedowns on Greek debt and pushed quarterly net profit above expectations.

“Despite the exceptionally heavy claims burdens we aim to achieve a positive result for the year,” said chief executive Nikolaus von Bomhard.

Net profit after minorities rose 3.8 per cent to €736m (£639.5m) in the second quarter, the world’s biggest reinsurer reported yesterday, better than the €660m average estimate.

Munich Re said net profit took a €125m hit in the quarter from a €703m writedown on its Greek sovereign debt exposure to reflect market values as of the end of June.