The counterparty default risk consists primarily of the risk of complete or partial failure of the counterparty and the associated default on payment. Since the business that we accept is not always fully retained, but instead portions are retroceded as necessary, the counterparty default risk is 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. We minimise these risks, among other things, 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. 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 major 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. Alongside traditional retrocessions in property and casualty reinsurance we also transfer risks to the capital market.
Counterparty default risks are also relevant to our investments and in life and health reinsurance 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. In terms of the Hannover Re Group’s major companies, EUR 355.1 million (9.3%) of our accounts receivable from reinsurance business totalling EUR 3,836.5 million were older than 90 days as at the balance sheet date. The average default rate over the past four years was 0.06%.