Reinsurance is insurance for insurance companies. Just as individuals and businesses buy insurance to protect their assets, primary insurers, the companies that sell insurance to consumers, buy reinsurance to protect their profits and solvency. Reinsurance fosters competitive insurance markets by enabling smaller insurers to compete with larger ones. It strengthens U.S. insurers by giving them access to global resources. Reinsurance is often sold in layers, reaching up into the millions of dollars to protect insurance companies from possible, but statistically highly unlikely events, such as an extraordinary number of homeowners claims as a result of a hurricane or a large single event, such as the destruction of a high-value asset or a massive legal judgment. As shown in the chart below, many reinsurers of U.S. risks are owned by offshore firms.


Top 10 U.S. Property/Casualty Reinsurers Of U.S. Business By Gross Premiums Written, 2015


Rank Company (1) Country of parent company Gross premiums written
1 National Indemnity Company (Berkshire Hathaway) (2) U.S. $18,349,736
2 Munich Re America Germany 6,669,622
3 QBE North America (Combined) Australia 5,084,876
4 Everest Reinsurance Company  Bermuda 5,009,780
5 Swiss Reinsurance America Corporation Switzerland 4,330,306
6 XL Reinsurance America Ireland 3,802,990
7 Transatlantic Reinsurance  U.S. 3,219,832
8 Odyssey Reinsurance Group Canada 2,267,041
9 Partner Reinsurance Company of the U.S. Bermuda 1,778,845
10 AXIS Reinsurance Company Bermuda 1,237,862

(1) See Reinsurance Underwriting Review 2015 notes posted at for list of affiliated companies included.
(2) Underwriting results exclude assumptions from affiliated General Re Group.

Source: Reinsurance Association of America.

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