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Risk landscape of Hannover Re

The risk landscape of Hannover Re encompasses technical risks in non-life and life/health reinsurance, market risks, credit risks, operational risks and other risks. The specific risk characteristics and the principal monitoring and management mechanisms are described in the following sections.

Risk landscape of Hannover Re

Risk landscape of Hannover Re enlarge zoom


Technical risks in non-life reinsurance

We make a fundamental distinction here between risks that result from business operations of past years (reserving 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.

A significant technical risk is the reserving risk, i.e. the risk of under-reserving losses and the associated strain on the underwriting result. In order to counter this risk we calculate our loss reserves based on our own actuarial loss estimations; where necessary we also establish additional reserves supplementary to those posted by our cedants as well as an IBNR (incurred but not reported) reserve for losses that have already occurred but have not yet been reported to us.

Liability claims have a major influence on the IBNR reserve. The IBNR reserve is calculated on a differentiated basis according to risk categories and regions. The IBNR reserve established by the Hannover Re Group amounted to EUR 4,795.2 million in the year under review. Asbestos- and pollution-related claims involve complex calculation methods. 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.

Survival ratio in years and reserves for asbestos-related claims and pollution damage in EUR million
  2011 2010
  Individual loss
IBNR reserves Survival ratio in years Individual loss
IBNR reserves Survival ratio
in years
Asbestos-related claims/ pollution damage 28.4 194.0 25.9 29.1 182.5 22.8

The statistical run-off triangles used by our company are another monitoring tool. 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 (cf. here Section 5.7 “Technical provisions”. Our own actuarial calculations regarding the adequacy of the reserves are also subject to annual quality assurance reviews conducted by external actuaries and auditors.

Hannover Re has taken out inflation swaps (USD and EUR zero coupon swaps) to partially hedge inflation risks. Portions of the loss reserves are hedged against inflation risks by means of these derivative financial instruments. 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. 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).

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 natural hazards exposure of the Hannover Re portfolio (accumulation control) is rounded out by realistic extreme loss scenarios. Within the scope of accumulation controlling, 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.

For the purposes of risk limitation, maximum underwriting limits (capacities) are 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 100-year and 200-year aggregate loss as well as the utilisation thereof are set out in the following table.

Limits and thresholds for the 100- and 200-year aggregate annual loss as well as utilisation thereof
Natural catastrophes and aggregate annual losses
in EUR million
Threshold 2011 Actual utilisation (July 2011)
All natural catastrophe risks, net exposure      
100-year aggregate annual loss 1,010 909 762
200-year aggregate annual loss 1,230 1,107 925

Catastrophe losses and major claims1 2011
in EUR million
Date gross net
Natural catastrophes and other major claims > EUR 5 million gross
Earthquake in Japan 11 March 410.7 228.7
Flood damage in northern and central Thailand 15 September – 1 November 234.5 195.7
Earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand 22 February 480.9 121.4
11 fire claims   117.9 81.8
Flooding in Brisbane, Australia 10 – 31 Januar 64.7 53.9
Winter storm damage in Mexico 3 – 5 February 50.1 50.1
5 marine claims   91.4 47.1
Tornadoes in the Midwestern United States 20 – 25 May 45.1 40.5
4 aviation claims   58.1 34.4
Earthquake in Sumner, New Zealand 13 June 42.7 29.8
Hurricane Irene in the United States and Caribbean 20 – 29 August 33.8 25.9
Cyclone Yasi in Australia 2 – 3 Februar 23.1 16.7
Tornadoes in the southern United States 27 – 28 April 22.6 14.6
Thunderstorm in Germany 24 – 26 August 15.1 10.0
Cloudburst in Copenhagen, Denmark 2 July 11.5 7.8
Unrest in Tunisia 1 – 31 January 7.1 7.1
Forest fires in Alberta, Canada 15 May 9.6 6.8
Winter storm damage in the United States 31 January – 5 February 5.3 4.2
Thunderstorm in eastern and southern Germany 11 September 5.4 4.2
Total   1,729.6 980.7

The catastrophe losses and major claims shown on the next page were incurred by our company in the 2011 financial year.

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.

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. 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.

Stress tests for natural catastrophes after retrocessions in EUR million 2011 2010
  Effect on forecast net income
100-year loss European windstorm (63.2) (146.5)
100-year loss US windstorm (296.8) (259.8)
100-year loss Japanese windstorm (255.5) (189.4)
100-year loss Tokyo earthquake (237.4) (195.1)
100-year loss California earthquake (224.8) (233.1)
100-year loss Sydney earthquake (89.6) (72.5)

The development of the combined ratio in non-life reinsurance is shown in the following table.

enlarge zoom

Combined and catastrophe loss ratio over the past ten years in %
  2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 20051 20041,2 20031,2 20021,2
Incl. financial reinsurance and specialty insurance
Based on US GAAP figures
Natural catastrophes and other man-made major losses > EUR 5 million gross for the share of the Hannover Re Group as a percentage of net premium earned
Combined ratio (non-life reinsurance) 104.3 98.2 96.6 95.4 99.7 100.8 112.8 97.2 96.0 96.3
Thereof catastrophe losses3 16.5 12.3 4.6 10.7 6.3 2.3 26.3 8.3 1.5 5.2
Combined and catastrophe loss ratio over the past ten years in %
  2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 20051 20041,2 20031,2 20021,2
Incl. financial reinsurance and specialty insurance
Based on US GAAP figures
Natural catastrophes and other man-made major losses > EUR 5 million gross for the share of the Hannover Re Group as a percentage of net premium earned
Combined ratio (non-life reinsurance) 104.3 98.2 96.6 95.4 99.7 100.8 112.8 97.2 96.0 96.3
Thereof catastrophe losses3 16.5 12.3 4.6 10.7 6.3 2.3 26.3 8.3 1.5 5.2

Technical risks in life and health reinsurance

All risks directly connected with the life of an insured person are referred to as biometric risks (especially the miscalculation of mortality, life expectancy, morbidity and occupational disability); they constitute material risks for our company in the area of life and health reinsurance. Counterparty, lapse and catastrophe risks are also material since we additionally prefinance our cedants’ new business acquisition costs. As in non-life reinsurance, the reserves are essentially calculated according to information provided by our clients and are also determined on the basis of secure biometric actuarial bases.

Through our quality assurance measures we ensure that the reserves established by ceding companies in accordance with local accounting principles satisfy all requirements with respect to the calculation methods used and assumptions made (e.g. use of mortality and morbidity tables, assumptions regarding the lapse rate). New business is written in all regions in compliance with underwriting guidelines applicable worldwide, which set out detailed rules governing the type, quality, level and origin of risks. These global guidelines are revised annually and approved by the Executive Board. Special underwriting guidelines give due consideration to the particular features of individual markets.

By monitoring compliance with these underwriting guidelines we minimise the risk of an inability to pay or deterioration in the financial status of cedants. Regular reviews and holistic analyses (e.g. with an eye to lapse risks) are carried out with respect to new business activities and the assumption of international portfolios. The interest rate risk, which in the primary sector is important in life business owing to the guarantees that are given, is of only minimal relevance to our company thanks to the structure of our contracts. The actuarial reports and documentation required by local regulators ensure that regular scrutiny also takes place on the level of the subsidiaries.

Sensitivity analysis of the Market Consistent Embedded Value (MCEV)1.2
More extensive information is provided in the MCEV reports published on our website. The presentation is based on the principles for publication of the MCEV defined by the CFO Forum. The CFO Forum is an international organisation of Chief Financial Officers from major insurance and reinsurance enterprises.
Before consolidation, excluding non-controlling interests
Base values in EUR million 2010 2009
Base value 3,891.0 3,390.3
Interest rate curve +100 basis points -0.5% 2.2%
Interest rate curve –100 basis points 0.3% -2.2%
Costs –10% 1.3% 1.3%
Lapse +10% -5.4% -5.5%
Lapse –10% 3.0% 10.2%
Mortality +5% -14.4% -15.5%
Mortality –5% 19.2% 21.6%

The Market Consistent Embedded Value (MCEV) is a ratio used for the valuation of life insurance and reinsurance business; it is calculated as the present value of the future shareholders’ earnings from the worldwide life and health reinsurance portfolio plus the allocated capital. The calculation makes allowance as far as possible for all risks included in this business. The Market Consistent Embedded Value is established on the basis of the principles of the CFO Forum published in October 2009. The table shows the MCEV 2010 and its sensitivities in comparison with the corresponding sensitivities of the MCEV 2009. For more detailed information please see the Market Consistent Embedded Value Report 2010, which in a departure from the system used here shows the figures after non-controlling interests.

The change in the MCEV under the scenarios shown captures the low volatility in this area and reflects our portfolio’s high degree of diversification. The consolidated MCEV before noncontrolling interests amounted to EUR 2,711.9 million (2009: EUR 2,210.8 million) as at 31 December 2010. This represents an increase of 22.7% (33.8%). The operating MCEV earnings totalled EUR 299.5 million (EUR 178.5 million), while the value of new business stood at EUR 153.4 million (EUR 83.9 million). We shall publish the MCEV for the 2011 financial year on our Internet website at the same time as the quarterly report for the first quarter of 2012.

Market risks

We pursue an investment policy in which the primary emphasis is on the stability of the generated return. With this in mind, our portfolio is guided by the principles of broad diversification and a balanced risk/return ratio. Risks in the investment sector consist primarily of market, credit default and liquidity risks. The most significant market price risks are share price, interest rate and currency risks.

With a view to preserving the value of our assets under own management, we constantly monitor adherence to a trigger mechanism based on a clearly defined traffic light system that is applied across all portfolios. This system puts the accumulated fluctuations in fair value and realised gains/losses on investments since the beginning of the year in relation to a maximum loss amount, with an eye to clearly graduated trigger values. These are unambiguously defined in conformity with our risk appetite and trigger specified actions if a corresponding fair value development is overstepped. Despite the sometimes difficult capital market environment in the year under review, our early-warning system consistently remained above the escalation levels (cf. graph below).

Utilisation of the trigger system

Utilisation of the trigger system enlarge zoom

The short-term “Value at Risk” (VaR) is another vital tool used for monitoring and managing market price risks. The VaR is determined on the basis of historical data, e.g. the volatility of the securities positions under own management and the correlation between these risks. As part of these calculations the decline in the fair value of our portfolio is simulated with a certain probability and within a certain period. The VaR of the Hannover Re Group determined in accordance with these principles specifies the decrease in the fair value of our securities portfolio under own management that with a probability of 95% will not be exceeded within ten trading days. A multi-factor model is used to calculate the VaR indicators for the Hannover Re Group. It is based on time series of selected representative market parameters (equity prices, yield curves, spread curves, exchange rates, commodity prices and macro-economic variables). All asset positions are mapped on the level of individual positions within the multifactor model; residual risks (e.g. market price risks that are not directly explained by the multi-factor model) can be determined through back-calculation and are incorporated into the overall calculation.

The model takes into account the following market risk factors:

  • interest rate risk,
  • credit spread risk,
  • systematic equity risk,
  • specific equity risk,
  • commodity risk,
  • option-specific risk.

Market price risks increased in the year under review in the face of greater volatility. Due to continued broad risk diversification and the liquidation of our equity portfolio in the first quarter, our Value at Risk of 1.2% (0.7%) as at the end of the reporting period was nevertheless clearly below the Value at Risk upper limit of 1.5% defined in our investment guidelines.

Value at Risk for the investment portfolio of the Hannover Re Group

Value at Risk for the investment portfolio of the Hannover Re Group enlarge zoom

Stress tests are conducted in order to be able to map extreme scenarios as well as normal market scenarios for the purpose of calculating the Value at Risk. In this context, the loss potentials for fair values and shareholders’ equity (before tax) are simulated on the basis of already occurred or notional extreme events. Further significant risk management tools – along with various stress tests used to estimate the loss potential under extreme market conditions – include sensitivity and duration analyses and our asset/liability management (ALM). The internal capital model provides us with quantitative support for the investment strategy as well as a broad diversity of VaR calculations. In addition, tightly defined tactical duration ranges are in place, within which the portfolio can be positioned opportunistically according to market expectations. The parameters for these ranges are directly linked to our calculated risk-bearing capacity.

Scenarios for changes in the fair value of material investment positions in EUR million
  Scenario Portfolio change on a fair value basis Change in equity before tax
Equity securities Share prices –10% -4.0 -4.0
  Share prices –20% -8.1 -8.1
  Share prices +10% 4.0 4.0
  Share prices +20% 8.1 8.1
Fixed-income securities Yield increase +50 basis points -560.3 -388.8
  Yield increase +100 basis points -1,095.0 -759.0
  Yield decrease –50 basis points 581.7 403.9
  Yield decrease –100 basis points 1,188.5 826.0
Real estate Real estate market values –10% -59.1 -12.8
  Real estate market values +10% 59.1 12.8

Further information on the risk concentrations of our investments can be obtained from the tables on the rating structure of fixed-income securities as well as on the currencies in which investments are held. Please see our comments in Section 5.1 “Investments under own management”.

Share price risks derive from the possibility of unfavourable changes in the value of equities, equity derivatives or equity index derivatives held in the portfolio. In the first quarter we disposed of our entire portfolio of listed equities in view of what was already a highly volatile market environment. Since then we have made corresponding new investments only on a very modest scale as part of strategic participations. The scenarios for changes in equity prices consequently have only extremely slight implications for our portfolio. We spread the risks through systematic diversification. Please see also our comments in Section 5.1 “Investments under own management”.

The portfolio of fixed-income securities is exposed to the interest rate risk. Declining market yields lead to increases and rising market yields to decreases in the fair value of the fixedincome securities portfolio. The credit spread risk should also be mentioned. The credit spread refers to the interest rate differential between a risk-entailing bond and risk-free bond of the same quality. Changes in these risk premiums, which are observable on the market, result – analogously to changes in pure market yields – in changes in the fair values of the corresponding securities.

Currency risks are especially relevant if there is a currency imbalance between the technical liabilities and the assets. Through extensive matching of currency distributions on the assets and liabilities side, we reduce this risk on the basis of the individual balance sheets within the Group. The short-term Value at Risk therefore does not include quantification of the currency risk. We regularly compare the liabilities per currency with the covering assets and optimise the currency coverage in light of relevant collateral conditions by regrouping assets. Remaining currency surpluses are systematically quantified and monitored within the scope of economic modelling. A detailed presentation of the currency spread of our investments is provided in Section 5.1, “Investments under own management”.

Real estate risks result from the possibility of unfavourable changes in the value of real estate held either directly or through fund units. They may be caused by a deterioration in particular qualities of a property or by a general downslide in market values (such as the US real estate crash). Real estate risks continued to grow in importance for our portfolio owing to our continuous involvement in this sector. We spread these risks through broadly diversified investments in high-quality markets of Germany, Europe as a whole and the United States.

We use derivative financial instruments only to a very limited extent. The primary purpose of such financial instruments is to hedge against potentially adverse situations on capital markets. In the year under review we took out inflation swaps to hedge part of the inflation risks associated with the loss reserves in our technical account. In addition, as in the previous year, a modest portion of our cash flows from the insurance business was hedged using forward exchange transactions.

The contracts are concluded solely with first-class counterparties and exposures are controlled in accordance with the restrictive parameters set out in the investment guidelines so as to avoid credit risks associated with the use of such transactions.

Credit risks

The credit risk consists primarily of the risk of complete or partial failure of the counterparty and the associated default on payment. Also significant here is the so-called migration risk, which results from the possibility of a deterioration in the counterparty credit quality and is reflected in a change in fair value. Since the business that we accept is not always fully retained, but instead portions are retroceded as necessary, the credit risk is also material for our company in reinsurance transactions. Our retrocession partners are carefully selected and monitored in light of credit considerations in order to keep the risk as small as possible. This is also true of our broker relationships, which entail a risk inter alia through the potential loss of the premium paid by the cedant to the broker or through possible double payments of claims. We minimise these risks, inter alia, by reviewing all broker relationships with an eye to criteria such as the existence of professional indemnity insurance, payment performance and proper contract implementation. The credit status of retrocessionaires is continuously monitored. On the basis of this ongoing monitoring a Security Committee decides on measures where necessary to secure receivables that appear to be at risk of default. This process is supported by a Web-based risk management application, which specifies cession limits for the individual retrocessionaires participating in protection cover programmes and determines the capacities still available for short-, medium- and long-term business (cession management). Depending on the type and expected run-off duration of the reinsured business, the selection of reinsurers takes into account not only the minimum ratings of the rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and A. M. Best but also internal and external expert assessments (e.g. market information from brokers). Overall, retrocessions conserve our capital, stabilise and optimise our results and enable us to act on opportunities across a broader front, e.g. following a catastrophe loss event. Regular visits to our retrocessionaires give us a reliable overview of the market and put us in a position to respond quickly to capacity changes. Through these close contacts with our retrocessionaires we are able to provide a stable renewals forecast. The table above shows how the proportion of assumed risks that we do not retrocede (i.e. that we run in our retention) has changed in recent years.

Gross written premium retained       in %
  2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Hannover Re Group 91.2 90.1 92.6 89.1 87.4
Non-life reinsurance 91.3 88.9 94.1 88.9 85.3
Life and health reinsurance 91.0 91.7 90.7 89.3 90.8

Alongside traditional retrocessions in non-life reinsurance we also transfer risks to the capital market. Yet credit risks are relevant to our investments and in life and health reinsurance, too, because we prefinance acquisition costs for our ceding companies. Our clients, retrocessionaires and broker relationships as well as our investments are therefore carefully evaluated and limited in light of credit considerations and are constantly monitored and controlled within the scope of our system of limits and thresholds.

The key ratios for management of our bad debt risk are as follows:

  • 90.9% of our retrocessionaires have an investment grade rating (“AAA” to “BBB”),
  • 89.7% are rated “A” or better.
  • Since 2007 we have reduced the level of recoverables by altogether 37.3%.
  • 38.8% of our recoverables from reinsurance business are secured by deposits or letters of credit. What is more, for the majority of our retrocessionaires we also function as reinsurer, meaning that in principle recoverables can potentially be set off against our own liabilities.
  • In terms of the Hannover Re Group’s major companies, EUR 276.9 million (8.8%) of our accounts receivable from reinsurance business totalling EUR 3,142.1 million were older than 90 days as at the balance sheet date.
  • The average default rate over the past three years was 0.1%.
Ratios used to monitor and manage our credit risks
Management ratios 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
(Shareholders‘ equity + hybrid capital)/net earned pr emium
Hybrid capital/shareholders‘ equity
EBIT/interest on hybrid capital
Net reserves/net premium earned
Solvency margin1 68.25% 69.5% 60.4% 66.7% 72.6%
Debt leverage2 30.9% 36.5% 32.1% 41.3% 35.0%
Interest coverage3 8.5x 13.8x 14.9x 1.9x 12.0x
Reserves/premium4 292.7% 275.1% 270.1% 312.4% 291.3%
Combined ratio (non-life reinsurance) 104.3% 98.2% 96.6% 95.4% 99.7%

Retrocession gives rise to claims that we hold against our retrocessionaires. These reinsurance recoverables – i.e. the reinsurance recoverables on unpaid claims – amounted to EUR 1,550.6 million (EUR 1,025.3 million) as at the balance sheet date.

Forderungen aus dem Rückversicherungsgeschäft zum Bilanzstichtag

Forderungen aus dem Rückversicherungsgeschäft zum Bilanzstichtag enlarge zoom

The chart on the next page shows the development of our reinsurance recoverables – split by rating quality – due from our retrocessionaires. Although the reinsurance recoverables were higher in 2011 than in the previous year on account of the heavy burden of major losses, recent years are clearly trending lower with an average reduction of 11% per year.

Further remarks on technical and other assets which were unadjusted but considered overdue as at the balance sheet date as well as on significant impairments in the year under review are provided in Section 5.4 “Technical assets”, Section 5.6 “Other assets” and Section 6.2 “Investment result”.

Credit risks from investments may arise out of the risk of a failure to pay (interest and/or capital repayment) or a change in the credit status (rating downgrade) of issuers of securities.

enlarge zoom

Rating structure of our fixed-income securities1
Securities held through investment funds are recognised pro rata with their corresponding individual ratings.
Rating classes Government bonds Securities issued by semi-governmental entities Corporate bonds Covered bonds/asset-backed securities
  in % in EUR million in % in EUR million in % in EUR million in % in EUR million
AAA 35.9 1,986.3 55.8 3,577.7 2.2 190.8 66.7 3,091.5
AA 45.4 2,506.7 40.1 2,576.9 15.9 1,366.9 23.4 1,086.0
A 11.9 658.2 3.0 195.6 52.2 4,483.2 2.4 109.7
BBB 4.7 259.0 0.6 35.8 25.1 2,155.6 3.1 143.1
< BBB 2.1 117.5 0.5 34.0 4.6 393.8 4.4 202.5
Total 100.0 5,527.7 100.0 6,420.0 100.0 8,590.3 100.0 4,632.8
Rating structure of our fixed-income securities1
Securities held through investment funds are recognised pro rata with their corresponding individual ratings.
Rating classes Government bonds Securities issued by semi-governmental entities Corporate bonds Covered bonds/asset-backed securities
  in % in EUR million in % in EUR million in % in EUR million in % in EUR million
AAA 35.9 1,986.3 55.8 3,577.7 2.2 190.8 66.7 3,091.5
AA 45.4 2,506.7 40.1 2,576.9 15.9 1,366.9 23.4 1,086.0
A 11.9 658.2 3.0 195.6 52.2 4,483.2 2.4 109.7
BBB 4.7 259.0 0.6 35.8 25.1 2,155.6 3.1 143.1
< BBB 2.1 117.5 0.5 34.0 4.6 393.8 4.4 202.5
Total 100.0 5,527.7 100.0 6,420.0 100.0 8,590.3 100.0 4,632.8

We attach equally vital importance to exceptionally broad diversification as we do to credit assessment conducted on the basis of the quality criteria set out in the investment guidelines.

We measure credit risks in the first place using the standard market credit risk components, especially the probability of default and the potential amount of loss – making allowance for any collateral and the ranking of the individual instruments depending on their effect in each case. We then assess the credit risk first on the level of individual securities (issues) and in subsequent steps on a combined basis on the issuer level.

In order to limit the risk of counterparty default we define various limits on the issuer and issue level as well as in the form of dedicated rating quotas. A comprehensive system of risk reporting ensures timely reporting to the functions entrusted with risk management.

The measurement and monitoring mechanisms that have been put in place safeguard a prudent, broadly diversified investment strategy. This is reflected inter alia in the fact that within our portfolio of assets under own management the exposures to government bonds or instruments backed by sovereign guarantees issued by the so-called GIIPS states (Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain) amount to altogether just EUR 385.3 million on a fair value basis. This corresponds to a proportion of 1.3%. The individual countries account for the following shares: Spain EUR 309.4 million, Ireland EUR 36.6 million, Italy EUR 20.7 million and Portugal EUR 18.7 million. No impairments had to be taken on these holdings. Our portfolio no longer contains any bonds of Greek issuers.

On a fair value basis EUR 3,305.2 million of the corporate bonds held by our company were issued by entities in the financial sector. Of this amount, EUR 2,731.9 million was attributable to banks. The vast majority of these bank bonds (75.7%) are rated “A” or better. Our investment portfolio under own management does not contain any directly written credit derivatives.

Operational risks

Operational risks refer to the risk of losses occurring because of the inadequacy or failure of internal processes or as a result of events triggered by employee-related, system-induced or external factors. Operational risks are monitored primarily by way of appropriate process management. These risk potentials are evaluated on the basis of expert assessments, the plausibility of which is verified by central risk management. These assessments enable us to prioritise operational risks. When it comes to the monitoring of such risks, we attach special emphasis to the following individual risks.

Business process risks are associated with the risk of inadequate or deficient internal processes, e.g. as a consequence of poor data quality. Data quality is a critical success factor, especially in risk management, because all enterprise processes are based on the information made available. The overriding goal of our data quality management is to bring about sustainable improvement and to safeguard data quality within the Hannover Re Group, for example by way of regular data quality checks. In addition, as part of our process management, overarching and company-wide processes are continuously optimised and standardised.

Compliance risks are associated with the risk of breaches of standards and requirements, non-compliance with which may entail lawsuits or official proceedings with not inconsiderable detrimental implications for the business activities of the Hannover Re Group (e.g. tax, anti-trust, embargo or regulatory law). Upon suspicion of breaches of the law pertaining to Hannover Re, our employees and business partners are able to report such suspicions anonymously using our electronic whistleblower system. These tips are brought to the attention of Hannover Re’s Compliance Office, which is thus able to investigate the grounds for suspicion. Responsibilities within the compliance organisation are regulated Group-wide and documented in a manual. The process is documented in regular compliance reports and complemented by training activities. It is our assumption that the implementation of Solvency II will be accompanied not only by improved business opportunities but also by more exacting requirements for our risk management. We have therefore put in place extensive internal controls and advanced risk management methods and are tracking, for example, developments in connection with the “Own Risk and Solvency Assessment” very closely.

As a reinsurance specialist, we transact primary insurance business that complements our reinsurance activities in selected market niches. In so doing, just as on the reinsurance side, we always work together with partners from the primary sector – such as insurance brokers and underwriting agencies. This gives rise to risks associated with such sales channels, although these are minimised through the careful selection of agencies, mandatory underwriting guidelines and regular checks.

Fraud risks refer to the risk of intentional violations of laws or regulations by members of staff (internal fraud) and/or by externals (external fraud). This risk is reduced by the processintegrated internal control system as well as by the audits conducted by Internal Auditing on a Group-wide and lineindependent basis.

The proper functioning and competitiveness of the Hannover Re Group can be attributed in large measure to the expertise and dedication of our staff. In order to minimise personnel risks, we pay special attention to the skills, experience and motivation of our employees and foster these qualities through outstanding personnel development and leadership activities. Regular employee surveys, the monitoring of turnover rates and the holding of exit interviews ensure that such risks are identified at an early stage and scope to take the necessary actions is created.

Information technology risks and information security risks arise, inter alia, out of the risk of the inadequate integrity, confidentiality or availability of systems and information. Losses and damage caused by unauthorised access to IT systems or by computer viruses, for example, pose a serious threat to the Hannover Re Group. Given the broad spectrum of such risks, a diverse range of steering and monitoring measures and organisational standards have been put in place. Among other things, our employees are made more conscious of such security risks through practically oriented tools, for example for the secure communication of information by e-mail.

When it comes to reducing business interruption risks, the paramount objective is the quickest possible return to normal operations after a crisis, for example through implementation of existing contingency plans. Guided by internationally accepted standards, we have defined the basic framework conditions for the Hannover Re Group and – among other measures – we have assembled a crisis team to serve as a temporary body in the event of an emergency. The system is complemented by regular exercises and tests.

The partial or complete outsourcing of functions and/or services may give rise to associated risks. Regulatory and binding internal rules serve to minimise such risks. All risks associated with any instance of outsourcing must be identified, evaluated (e.g. by way of a performance assessment) and appropriately steered and controlled.

Other risks

Of material importance to our company in the category of other risks are primarily emerging risks, strategic risks, reputational risks and liquidity risks.

The hallmark of emerging risks is that the content of such risks cannot as yet be reliably assessed – especially with respect to our treaty portfolio. Such risks evolve gradually from weak signals to unmistakable tendencies. It is therefore vital to detect these risks at an early stage and then determine their relevance. For the purpose of early detection we have developed an efficient process that spans divisions and lines of business and we have ensured its linkage to risk management. Operational implementation is handled by an expert working group assembled specially for this task. The analyses performed by this working group are used Group-wide in order to pinpoint any necessary measures (e.g. the implementation of contractual exclusions or the development of new reinsurance products). By way of example, the risks arising out of the emergence of large cities and urban conurbations – socalled megacities – are analysed by this working group. The growth of such urban centres goes hand-in-hand with a host of different problems, including a growing demand for food, drinking water, energy and living space. These challenges may also have implications for our treaty portfolio – in the form not only of risks but also opportunities, e.g. through increased demand for reinsurance products. Climate change, nanotechnology, political unrest, amendments to laws and changes in regulatory requirements as well as pandemics may be cited as examples of other emerging risks.

Strategic risks derive from a possible imbalance between the corporate strategy of the Hannover Re Group and the constantly changing general business environment. Such an imbalance might be caused, for example, by incorrect strategic policy decisions, a failure to consistently implement the defined strategies and business plans or an incorrect allocation of resources. We therefore regularly review our corporate strategy in a multi-step procedure and adjust our processes and the resulting guidelines as and when required. We have defined performance criteria and indicators for the operational implementation of the strategic guidelines; these are authoritative when it comes to determining fulfilment of the various targets. In accordance with our strategy cycle, we reviewed our strategy this year and adjusted it in line with current requirements. The cross-divisional section, which contains our ten strategic principles, safeguards realisation of our vision: the cementing and expansion of our position as one of the leading, globally operating reinsurance groups of above-average profitability. The business group strategies specify in concrete terms the contribution to be made by the business groups to attainment of the overarching objectives. With the “Strategy Cockpit” responsible managers have at their disposal strategy software that assists them with the planning, elaboration and management of strategic objectives and measures. Further details are provided in the section entitled “Our strategy”.

Reputational risks refer to the risk of a loss of trust in our company among clients, shareholders, employees or the public at large. This risk has the potential to jeopardise the business foundation of the Hannover Re Group. A good corporate reputation is therefore an indispensable prerequisite for our core business as a reinsurer. It often takes decades to build up a positive reputation, yet this reputation can be damaged or even destroyed within a very brief space of time. Loss of reputation may occur, for example, if a data mishap becomes public knowledge or as a consequence of fraud. We use a number of different practices to minimise this risk, including for example our set communication channels, a professional approach to corporate communications, tried and tested processes for defined crisis scenarios as well as our established Code of Conduct. Our rules governing the use of social networks (social media) as well as the principles defined in our sustainability strategy for conducting business in a responsible and sustainable manner round off this set of tools.

The liquidity risk refers to the risk of being unable to meet our financial obligations when they become due. The liquidity risk consists of the refinancing risk, i.e. the necessary cash cannot be obtained or can only be raised at increased costs, and the market liquidity risk, meaning that financial market transactions can only be completed at a poorer price than expected due to a lack of market liquidity. Core elements of the liquidity management of our investments are, in the first place, management of the maturity structure of our investments on the basis of the planned payment profiles arising out of our technical liabilities and, secondly, regular liquidity planning as well as the asset structure of the investments.

Above and beyond the foreseeable payments, unexpected and exceptionally large payments may pose a threat to liquidity. Yet in reinsurance business significant events (major losses) are normally paid out after a lead time that can be reliably planned. As part of our liquidity management we have nevertheless defined asset holdings that have proven to be highly liquid – even in times of financial stress such as the 2008 financial crisis. Our holdings of unrestricted German, UK and US government bonds as well as cash during the year under review were larger than possible disbursements for assumed extreme scenarios, which means that our liquidity is assured even in the unlikely event of financial crises coinciding with an extreme event that needs to be paid out quickly. The liquid asset reserve stood at more than EUR 1.8 billion as at the balance sheet date. In addition, we manage the liquidity of the portfolio through ongoing monitoring of the liquidity of the instruments contained therein; liquidity is verified on a monthly and ad hoc basis. These measures serve to effectively reduce the liquidity risk.

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