Reinsurance is “insurance for insurance companies”, in other words, a “second level of insurance”. The risk of suffering dangerously high losses as a consequence of payments for major claims soon generated a need for “reinsurance” among so-called “primary” insurers. The oldest known reinsurance contracts or “treaties” date back to the fourteenth century.

Reinsurance business – the principle of risk spreading

The international reinsurance sector has since developed into a highly specialised financial service. Major individual risks and natural catastrophe risks are spread across the globe so as to minimise the potential loss for a single company. Reinsurers, for their part, spread the assumed major risks among other reinsurers – transactions known as retrocessions.

Highly specialised products and services

In addition to providing coverage for claims, new insurance companies are provided with support during the cost-intensive start-up phase. The goal pursued by insurance companies (especially those listed on the stock exchange) of ensuring balance sheet continuity is achieved, in part, by means of reinsurance. A further task of reinsurers is to advise insurers as regards underwriting, pricing and the development of new insurance products.

Reinsurance specialists

Since treaty terms and conditions are negotiated in each individual case, reinsurers have built up a very high level of expertise in risk-appropriate underwriting. To this end we employ insurance specialists, but also need specialists from highly diverse fields, such as mathematicians, meteorologists, medical experts, engineers etc.

Through the provision of such highly sophisticated services – the specifics of which are frequently extremely complex – Hannover Re today is one of the leading reinsurance groups in the world.