Based on our currently available insights arrived from a holistic analysis of the opportunities and risks, the Executive Board of Hannover Re cannot discern any risks that could jeopardise the continued existence of the Hannover Re Group in the short or medium term or have a material and lasting effect on its assets, financial position or net income. We are convinced that:
As an internationally operating reinsurance group, we move in a highly complex environment. Nevertheless, thanks to our business activities in all lines of reinsurance we are able to achieve optimal risk spreading through geographical and risk-specific diversification while at the same time maintaining a balanced opportunity / risk profile. We consider the risks described in the above sections to be manageable, particularly because our steering and monitoring measures are effectively and closely interlinked. Despite these diverse mechanisms, individual and especially accumulation risks can decisively affect our assets, financial position and net income. In accordance with our understanding of risk, however, we consider not only risks but also at the same time opportunities. We therefore only enter into those risks that go hand-in-hand with opportunities. Our steering and monitoring tools as well as our organisational and operational structure ensure that we identify risks at an early stage and are able to act on our opportunities. Our central monitoring tool is the system of risk management that we have installed Group-wide, which brings together both qualitative and quantitative information for the purpose of effective risk monitoring. Most notably, the interplay between domestic and foreign risk management functions affords us a holistic and Group-wide overview.
Our own evaluation of the manageability of existing risks is confirmed by various financial indicators and external assessments. Key monitoring indicators, reporting limits and potential escalation steps are defined on a mandatory basis in our central system of limits and thresholds for the material risks of the Hannover Re Group. As a result, the system provides us with a precise overview of potentially undesirable developments in the defined risk tolerances and enables us to react in a timely manner. One testament to our financial stability, for example, is the growth of our shareholders’ equity: since 2011 we have been able to increase our total policyholders’ surplus (hybrid capital, non-controlling interests and shareholders’ equity) by more than 60%. In this context, the necessary equity resources are determined by the requirements of our economic capital model, solvency regulations, the assumptions of rating agencies with respect to our target rating and the expectations of our clients and shareholders. This increase gives us a sufficient capital cushion to be able both to absorb risks and act on business opportunities that may arise. Similarly, our very good ratings also testify to our financial stability. The quality of our Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is evaluated separately by Standard & Poor’s and received the highest possible rating of “Very Strong”. Special attention is paid here to our established risk culture, which promotes the development of appropriate risk monitoring systems and strategic risk management. The evaluation encompasses in particular the areas of risk culture, risk controls, the management of emerging risks, risk models and strategic risk management. This external appraisal confirms the quality of our holistic approach to risk management.
In addition, the risk trigger mechanism and internal monitoring system are reviewed annually by the independent auditor.
The Group-wide risk management system is also a regular part of the audits conducted by the internal audit function.
For additional information on the opportunities and risks associated with our business please see the Group Annual Report 2016.