The results are in and, after a catastrophic year, it’s a wonder any of the major reinsurers made a profit. Meanwhile the latest e-trading offering hopes to cater for our need for speed

The 2011 results of ACE, Munich Re and Transatlantic Holdings, published today, show how tough the last year was for global (re)insurers.

ACE and Munich Re’s results show severely dented profits compared to 2010, while Transatlantic made a loss.

ACE’s net profits were down 49%, compared to 2010, from $1.6bn (£1bn) to $3.1bn.

Munich Re’s profits fell 70%, from €2.4bn (£1.99bn) in 2010 to €710m this year.

Transatlantic made an after-tax loss of £99.2m for the full 2011 year, compared with a $402.2m profit in 2010.

But, given the eye-watering cat losses of last year, reinsurers have shown their resilience by making profit at all.

A combination of flooding in Thailand and earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand hit the market hard, especially because reinsurers had underestimated the amount of losses they would get from areas outside the big danger zones of Europe and the USA.

This year hasn’t got off to the best of starts for reinsurers, with the Costa Concordia loss already to contend with, so no doubt they are crossing their fingers for a quieter year from now on.

Dynamic promises

E-trading was all over the insurance trade press last year, and the industry discussed the boundaries and problems of e-trading at length at various conferences.

On the crest of this, Barbon subsidiary Keelan Westall has announced the launch of its own e-trading platform, called Dynamic, for residential property. Keelan Westall managing director Wayne Tonge hopes to expand the platform into SME business this year.

Brokers have the choice of several e-trading platforms at the moment, but Tonge believes Dynamic will make a difference through its speed and personal service.

A common complaint among brokers is that when an e-traded risk is not immediately accepted by an insurer, there is a long delay before the problem gets sorted out, prompting brokers to do things the old-fashioned way by picking up the telephone to speed things up.

But Keelan Westall want to iron this problem out and its staff will call the broker quickly if this happens with Dynamic, Tonge said.

The platform also gives brokers an immediate rough quote on a risk, meaning that they can feed this back to the client as soon as the broker gets pitched the risk, increasing the broker’s chances of winning the business.

It’s interesting that as so much attention is paid to future of insurance technology, this new platform aims to differentiate itself by paying attention to traditional broking values.