Barents Re is a leading independent reinsurance group. We provide a wide range of niche and specialty reinsurance products to property and casualty insurers. We have a well-established presence in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, which translates into more than 600 reinsurance connections in 70 countries.
Establishment and expansion
Barents Re was established in 1996 and, over the past two decades, we have built a reputation as a leading specialty and niche reinsurer that has consistently delivered strong financial results.
We are underwriters first and foremost. Our entrepreneurial culture, coupled with an experienced management team, allows us to identify and respond quickly to opportunities. The expertise of our specialty underwriting teams and their knowledge of our markets, products and clients enables us to offer innovative solutions. We offer bespoke products and services individually tailored to our clients’ needs. Furthermore, our reputation means we attract top quality personnel from around the world.
I am especially proud of our expansion strategy with its focus on specialty lines of business, which have been key to our progress. We are very clear that we only establish a presence where we believe there are opportunities to work with like-minded clients. We have offices throughout Western Europe complemented by our office in Moscow, which serves as the hub for Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union countries. We have a well-established presence in Latin America as well as the Middle East to serve the Americas and MENA regions. As a result of this global expansion, around 65% of our premiums come from Europe with the remainder fairly evenly split between Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.
Challenges and solutions
The combination of slow economic growth, low interest rates and intense competition have been the prevalent drivers of financial performance in the reinsurance sector in recent years. As evidenced across the reinsurance sector, financial performance in recent years has been in part driven by a higher loss burden and a reduced contribution from prior year development.
Despite these challenges, Barents Re maintained its strategic course to deliver superior client service and shareholder value. One of the constant features of our business is the focus on managing severity and remaining outside of high frequency business. Furthermore, we withdraw from inadequately priced accounts as we will not compromise on underwriting discipline.
This consistency of approach coupled with the experience gained from managing the peaks and troughs of the cycle, punctuated by financial crises and catastrophic events, means we have been able to steer a steady course through the prolonged soft market. Whilst others may have fallen by the wayside, Barents Re remains a resilient partner for our clients.
The strength of our relationships with clients and business partners instills huge confidence in our continued ability to deliver on our strategic objectives. Our track record allows us to obtain superior quality retro cover, and the fact that we have worked with most of our retro partners for over 10 years is testament to the belief that they have in our business model and our ability to deliver on our strategy.
Furthermore, Barents Re has particular knowledge and expertise in many of the world’s growth markets. This is part of our DNA. The growth in insurance premiums in many countries is fuelled by economic fundamentals, favourable demographics and the introduction or enforcement of compulsory insurance are most encouraging. While insurance penetration is still low in many countries, it’s on the rise and we expect Barents Re to benefit in the coming years.
Key lines of business and innovation
We are focused on being a niche player that offers specialist and tailor-made solutions to our clients. We do not participate in every type of business because underwriting discipline is fundamental to our success. On the commercial side, we are especially strong in bonds, energy, property, liability, financial lines, marine, life, and accident and health. We are also a growing presence in the consumer arena with participation in a number of affinity programmes.
Typically, the reinsurance industry defines innovation narrowly in terms of insurance product design and pricing. That’s just the beginning for Barents Re. Innovation is imbedded in our processes and fundamental to our business model. It is the way we go to market and it is an integral part of our client experience. It is the way we are organised so we can deliver reinsurance solutions at the right price.
High quality personnel
Our vision is for Barents Re to be an integral part of the insurance value chain. To achieve this, it is essential that we employ experts in their chosen field of reinsurance underwriting. Our people are the core of our business; it is their knowledge and experience that allows us to make the right decisions for our clients and for our business. Of course, we manage and have access to a wealth of data and tools that assist us in our decision-making processes. But it is the ability to accurately interpret such data that separates one reinsurer from another. It is precisely for this reason that we employ recognised experts.
A direct consequence of our analytical and disciplined approach is our ability to provide substantial capacity for our clients’ benefit over the long-term. Our consistent financial strength has been recognised by A.M. Best through the recent affirmations of A (Excellent) ratings for Barents Re Reinsurance Company, Inc. and Barents Reinsurance S.A. These ratings are testament to the hard work of everyone at Barents, which has made our business the success it is today.
We will continue to create value for our shareholders by conducting business in countries where we feel very comfortable and where we have a niche-product strategy that is focused on profitability and not on market share. Overall, we are working to reinforce, develop and enhance our core aims in specific markets, so that we continue to provide superior service and financial results.