In the context of its business operations the Hannover Re Group enters into a broad variety of risks. These risks are deliberately accepted, steered and monitored in order to be able to act on the associated opportunities. The parameters and decisions of the Executive Board with respect to the risk appetite of the Hannover Re Group, which are based on the calculations of risk-bearing capacity, are fundamental to the acceptance of risks. Through our business operations on all continents and the diversification between our Property & Casualty and Life & Health reinsurance business groups we are able to effectively allocate our capital in light of opportunity and risk considerations and generate a higher-than-average return on equity. Along with our principal business operations as a reinsurer of property & casualty and life & health business, we also transact primary insurance in selected niche markets as a complement to our core reinsurance business. With this approach we are well positioned for further profitable growth. In this context crucial importance attaches to our risk management in order to ensure that, among other things, risks to the reinsurance portfolio remain calculable and also exceptional major losses do not have an unduly adverse impact on the result.
The risk landscape of Hannover Re encompasses:
- underwriting risks in property & casualty and life & health reinsurance which originate from our business activities and manifest themselves inter alia in fluctuations in loss estimates as well as in unexpected catastrophes and changes in biometric factors such as mortality,
- market risks which arise in connection with our investments and also as a consequence of the valuation of sometimes long-term payment obligations associated with the technical account,
- counterparty default risks resulting from our diverse business relationships and payment obligations inter alia with clients and retrocessionaires,
- operational risks which may derive, for example, from deficient processes or systems and
- other risks, such as reputational and liquidity risks.
At the present time our most significant risks are the credit and spread risks within the market risks, the reserving and catastrophe risks within the underwriting risks of property and casualty reinsurance and the risk of changes in mortality within the underwriting risks of life and health reinsurance. With regard to mortality risks, as a general principle annuity portfolios are impacted by improvements in mortality while death benefit portfolios are adversely affected by deteriorations in mortality. The specific risk characteristics and the principal monitoring and steering mechanisms are described in the following sections.
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