Reinsurance is essentially insurance for insurance companies. It is a way for primary insurers to protect against unforeseen or extraordinary losses. Reinsurance also serves to limit liability on specific risks, to increase individual insurers’ capacity to write business and to help insurers stabilize their business in the face of the wide swings in profit and loss margins that are inherent in the insurance business. Reinsurance premiums written in the U.S. totaled $26.4 billion in 2011, according to the Reinsurance Association of America.
Foreign reinsurers’ share of U.S. premiums written increased from 57.8 percent in 2009 to 59.9 percent in 2010 based on premiums that U.S. insurers ceded to foreign-based reinsurers not part of their own corporate group. However, a number of U.S. based reinsurers are owned by foreign companies. If the ultimate parents of these reinsurance companies are taken into account, foreign (or foreign-owned) reinsurance companies accounted for 86.8 percent of the market in 2010, up from 84.5 percent in 2009.
TOP TEN U.S. PROPERTY/CASUALTY REINSURERS OF U.S. BUSINESS BY GROSS PREMIUMS WRITTEN, 2013