Maintaining substantial financial resources over the long term underlies our promise, evidenced by a strong, clean balance sheet, financial conservatism and transparency. Our financial strength is further supported by a simple, clear approach to reserves, low credit risk due to a high quality investment portfolio and minimal retrocession, and an approach to capital allocation that prevents any one line impairing the overall health of PartnerRe.
Our investment portfolio is a source of both financial strength and earnings, and our investment approach is driven primarily by our promise to pay our clients' claims. We think of investments as our exposure to risk on the asset side of the balance sheet. We believe the analysis required to evaluate investment risk is akin to that required for reinsurance risk. We work to understand the risk of a particular security, evaluate it in the context of the overall portfolio, and then determine whether the return offered is appropriate.
Our reserve philosophy is simple and clear. We will at no time establish our reserves at less than the actuarial best estimate. We recognize that some long-tailed lines are prone to adverse development beyond the actuarial best estimate. This is incorporated into our analysis when we establish reserves.
We believe we have one of the strongest capital structures in the worldwide reinsurance business, and we continue to earn above average return on that capital. We utilize our capital to support growth opportunities in a strong market, and return capital to our shareholders during the soft phases of the reinsurance cycle in the form of dividends or share repurchases.
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