Risk management in property and casualty reinsurance has defined various overall guidelines for efficient risk steering. These include, among other things, the limited use of retrocessions to reduce volatility and conserve capital. It is also crucially important to consistently maximise the available risk capacities on the basis of the risk management parameters of the Hannover Re Group and to steer the acceptance of risks systematically through the existing central and local underwriting guidelines. Our conservative reserving level is a crucial factor in our risk management. We make a fundamental distinction between risks that result from business operations of past years (reserve risk) and those stemming from activities in the current or future years (price / premium risk). In the latter case, special importance attaches to the catastrophe risk.

Diversification within the Property & Casualty reinsurance business group is actively managed through allocation of the cost of capital according to the contribution made to diversification. A high diversification effect arises out of the underwriting of business in different lines and different regions with different business partners. In addition, the active limitation of individual risks – such as natural catastrophes – enhances the diversification effect. The risk capital with a confidence level of 99.5 % for underwriting risks in property and casualty reinsurance breaks down as follows:

Required risk capital1 for underwriting risks in property and casualty reinsurance 
in EUR million20142013
Premium risk (incl. catastrophe risk)2,079.42,015.3
Reserve risk1,907.01,528.4
Underwriting risk in property
and casualty reinsurance

The reserve risk, i. e. the risk of under-reserving losses and the resulting strain on the underwriting result, is the overriding priority in our risk management. We attach the utmost importance to a conservative reserving level and therefore traditionally have a high confidence level (>  50 %). In order to counter the risk of under-reserving we calculate our loss reserves based on our own actuarial estimations and establish, where necessary, additional reserves supplementary to those posted by our cedants as well as the segment reserve for losses that have already occurred but have not yet been reported to us. Liability claims have a major influence on the segment reserve. The segment reserve is calculated on a differentiated basis according to risk categories and regions. The segment reserve established by the Hannover Re Group amounted to EUR 6,107.4  million in the year under review.

The statistical run-off triangles are another monitoring tool used by our company. They show the changes in the reserve over time as a consequence of paid claims and in the recalculation of the reserves to be established as at each balance sheet date. Their adequacy is monitored using actuarial methods.

Our own actuarial calculations regarding the adequacy of the reserves are also subject to annual quality assurance reviews conducted by external firms of actuaries and auditors. For further remarks on the reserve risk please see our comments in the section “Technical provisions”.

In the case of asbestos- and pollution-related claims it is difficult to reliably estimate future loss payments. The adequacy of these reserves can be estimated using the so-called “survival ratio”. This ratio expresses how many years the reserves would cover if the average level of paid claims over the past three years were to continue.

In order to partially hedge inflation risks Hannover Re has taken out inflation swaps (USD and EUR zero coupon swaps) and invested in inflation-linked instruments that protect parts of the loss reserves against inflation risks. An inflation risk exists particularly inasmuch as the liabilities (e. g. loss reserves) could develop differently than assumed at the time when the reserve was constituted because of inflation. Inflation protection was purchased for the first time in the second quarter of 2010 with terms of 4 and 5 years; it was increased in the first quarter of 2011 (term of 8 years). Since 2012 we have also increasingly obtained parts of the inflation protection for our loss reserves by purchasing bonds with inflation-linked coupons and redemption amounts.

Survival ratio in years and reserves for asbestas-related claims and pollution damage
in EUR million20142013
Individual loss reservesIBNR reservesSurvival ratio in yearsIndividual loss reservesIBNR reservesSurvival ratio in years
Asbestos-related claims / pollution damage33.8189.328.228.8170.832.1

Licensed scientific simulation models, supplemented by the expertise of our own specialist departments, are used to assess our material catastrophe risks from natural hazards (especially earthquake, windstorm and flood). Furthermore, we establish the risk to our portfolio from various scenarios in the form of probability distributions. The monitoring of the risks resulting from natural hazards is rounded out by realistic extreme loss scenarios.

Stress tests for natural catastrophes after retrocessions
in EUR million20142013
Effect on forecast net income
Windstorm Europe
100-year loss(251.0)(227.8)
250-year loss(440.0)(415.2)
Windstorm United States
100-year loss(541.7)(393.1)
250-year loss(778.1)(630.6)
Windstorm Japan
100-year loss(172.2)(241.1)
250-year loss(250.1)(292.0)
Earthquake Japan
100-year loss(254.3)(263.4)
250-year loss(520.8)(490.8)
Earthquake California
100-year loss(303.5)(271.9)
250-year loss(503.1)(461.1)
Earthquake Australia
100-year loss(172.7)(166.5)
250-year loss(449.7)(369.1)

Within the scope of this process, the Executive Board defines the risk appetite for natural perils once a year on the basis of the risk strategy by specifying the portion of the economic capital that is available to cover risks from natural perils. This is a key basis for our underwriting approach in this segment. As part of our holistic approach to risk management across business groups, we take into account numerous relevant scenarios and extreme scenarios, determine their effect on portfolio and performance data, evaluate them in relation to the planned figures and identify alternative courses of action.

For the purposes of risk limitation, maximum amounts are also stipulated for various extreme loss scenarios and return periods in light of profitability criteria. Adherence to these limits is continuously verified by Group Risk Management. The Risk Committee, Executive Board and Non-Life Executive Committee are kept regularly updated on the degree of capacity utilisation. The limits and thresholds for the 200-year aggregate loss as well as the utilisation thereof are set out in the following table:

Limit and threshold for the 200-year aggregate annual loss as well as utilisation thereof
in EUR millionLimit 2014Threshold 2014Actual utilisation
(July 2014)
All natural risks1
200-year aggregate annual loss1,4801,3321,147

Net expenditure on major losses in the year under review amounted to EUR 425.7 million (EUR 577.6 million ). Our company incurred the following catastrophe losses and major claims in the 2014 financial year:

Catastrophe losses and major claims1 in 2014
in EUR millionDategrossnet
3 aviation claims179.8119.6
6 fire claims112.8101.7
Storm Ela in Europe7 – 10 June 201467.449.1
2 snowstorms in JapanFebruary 201438.221.1
Flooding in India and Pakistan1 – 5 September 201435.835.8
2 severe weather events in the United StatesMay and June 201428.620.0
Hail and windstorm in Australia27 and 28 November 201427.418.9
Windstorm and hail in Canada7 August 201421.112.9
Hurricane Odile in Mexico14 September 201420.018.8
Cyclone Hudhud in India12 and 13 October 201417.517.5
Typhoon Rammasun in the Philippines and China14 July 201410.310.3
Ensuring the quality of our portfolios

The price / premium risk lies primarily in the possibility of a random claims realisation that diverges from the claims expectancy on which the premium calculation was based. Regular and independent reviews of the models used for treaty quotation as well as central and local underwriting guidelines are vital management components. We have put in place a multi-step quotation process to ensure the quality of our portfolios:

In addition, Hannover Re’s regional and treaty departments prepare regular reports on the progress of their respective renewals. The reporting in this regard makes reference inter alia to significant changes in conditions, risks (such as inadequate premiums) as well as to emerging market opportunities and the strategy pursued in order to accomplish targets. The development of the combined ratio in property and casualty reinsurance in 2014 and prior years is shown in the table below:

Combined and catastrophe loss ratio
Combined ratio (property and casualty reinsurance)94.794.995.8104.398.296.695.499.7100.8112.8
Thereof catastrophe losses

For further information on the run-off of the loss reserves please see our explanatory remarks in the section “Run-off of the net loss reserve in the property and casualty reinsurance segment”.


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