The top 50 reinsurers, and why recruitment is still focused on Solvency II

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If you work in reinsurance, it helps to know which firms have been doing comparatively well. A new ranking by A.M. Best suggests that, despite the increase in catastrophic losses last year, it’s still the European companies that are proving to be more resilient. Berkshire Hathaway and the Reinsurance Group of America are the only two U.S. firms in the top ten.

Reinsurers chalked up $50 billion in losses related to natural catastrophes last year and are also dealing with economic woes, reducing their exposure to the sovereign debt problems in the Eurozone, but have still been comparatively stable this year, suggest the report.

Firms haven’t rushed out to hire catastrophe modelling specialists in reaction to this, nor have they made swathing job cuts as revenues tumbled, suggest recruiters.

A mid-year review of the reinsurance industry by Fitch released last week shows a return to normality. Catastrophe related losses declined to around 2% of earned premiums this year, compared to 44% in the first half of 2011.

Where are reinsurers recruiting this year? Actuarial roles remain a fertile area and it’s often still Solvency II spurring this, suggests Paul Walsh, CEO at insurance focused recruiters Acumen Resources.

“The Solvency II gravy train in reinsurance continues,” he says. “Firms are still looking for actuaries with capital modelling, liability modelling and the general corporate end of the reinsurance industry more so than underwriting.

Here are A.M. Best’s rankings, based on gross premiums written to unaffiliated assumed business and are related to the 2011 fiscal year:

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