PartnerRe CEO Discusses Q3 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

PartnerRe Ltd. ( PRE)

Q3 2011 Earnings Conference Call

November 1, 2011 10:00 AM ET


Costas Miranthis – President and CEO

Robin Sidders – Director, IR

William Babcock – Executive Vice President and CFO


Jay Gelb – Barclays Capital

Mike Salinsky – Credit Suisse

Cliff Gallant – KBW

Joshua Shanker – Deutsche Bank

Gregory Locraft – Morgan Stanley

Matthew Heimermann – JP Morgan

Jay Cohen – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

Vinay Misquith – Evercore Partners

Brian Meredith – UBS

Amit Kumar – Macquarie

Ian Gutterman – Adage Capital



(Operator instructions) If you haven't received a copy of the press release, it is posted on the company's website at, or you can call (212) 687-8080 and one will be faxed to you right away. I'll now hand the conference over to Robin Sidders, Director of Investor Relations at PartnerRe, who will begin the call.

Robin Sidders

Good morning, and welcome to PartnerRe's third quarter and nine months 2011 results conference call and web cast. As a reminder, our third quarter financial supplement can be found on our website in the Investor Relations section by clicking on Supplementary Financial Data on the Financial Reports page.

On today's call are Costas Miranthis, President and CEO of PartnerRe; and Bill Babcock, Executive Vice President and CFO of PartnerRe. Costas will start with an overview of the quarter and year-to-date and then hand over to Bill, who will provide more details on the results. Costas will come back at the end to provide additional commentary on the market, and then we'll open the call up for question-and-answer session. I'll begin with the Safe Harbor statement.

Forward-looking statements contained in this call are based on the company's assumptions and expectations concerning future events and financial performance of the company and are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are subject to significant business, economic and competitive risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those reflected in the forward-looking statements.

PartnerRe's forward-looking statements could be affected by numerous foreseeable and unforeseeable events and developments, such as exposure to catastrophe or other large property and casualty losses, adequacy of reserves, risks associated with implementing business strategies, levels and pricing of new business and renewal business achieved, credit, interest, currency and other risks associated with the company's investment portfolio, changes in accounting policies and other factors identified in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In light of the significant uncertainties inherent in the forward-looking information contained herein, listeners are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. The company disclaims any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking information or statements. In addition, during the call, management will refer to some non-GAAP measures when talking about the company's performance. You can find a reconciliation of those numbers to GAAP measures in the company's financial supplement. With that, I'll hand the call over to Costas.

Costas Miranthis

Thank you, Robin and welcome everybody to our third quarter results call. Our third quarter 2011 results were solid. We generated in excess of 10% annualized operating ROE and a 2% growth in book value per share during the quarter, which given the low interest rate environment that we continue to operate within is I believe a respectable result.

We benefited from an absence of large catastrophic events, the effect of higher seasonal earned premiums that we typically experience in the third quarter, as well as the persistence of low quarterly loss trends, resulting in continued favorable development. Offsetting this however, was the negative impact of an increase in our provisions for earthquake events of the first quarter of 2011.

The production during the quarter is concentrated in July. We have commented on production trends for the July renewal in an earlier call, and indeed as you will hear from Bill, the premium trends are largely the effect of prior quarter actions filtering through the financials. So the main story for the quarter was what happened with losses. Most of our portfolio performed in line or better than expectations during the quarter.

Overall, reported losses remained significantly below expectation, and we have seen no evidence of any uptick in liability loss trends. We nevertheless continued to price for higher loss trends. Indeed our initial loss ratio selections for the current accident years include significantly higher loss trend assumptions than what we have seen in the recent quarters.

We were disappointed to record an increase in our estimates for the first quarter earthquake events. For the earthquake in Japan, the increase was driven by an advice from our largest Japanese [ph] that the previous estimate of liability was likely to be exceeded. Our revised estimate incorporates the most recent claims trend information from this event.

For New Zealand, our revised estimate is only partially due to new loss information, but reflects our increasing concern regarding the complexity of the claims that have been processed. Our life segment performed in line with expectations, despite some accounting volatility from the (inaudible) product. We saw some attractive new opportunities for business during the quarter.

Investment income was relatively flat, although FX and other one off movements masked the underlying decline, which we see as the long-term trend. On the asset side, the effect of declining risk rates on our balance sheet was largely balanced by widening credit spreads and declining equity markets. However, the declining risk rates had a negative impact on the underlying economic value of the company, as the value of investment income embedded in our reserves declined also.

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