February 23rd, 2011

Chart: Reinsurance Sector Price to Book Multiples and Forward ROE

Posted at 1:00 AM ET

Low valuation of the reinsurance sector may prove to be a catalyst for change by driving reinsurance sector consolidation. The chart below plots quoted reinsurance companies on price to book ratios and forward consensus returns on equity. The shaded area below 0.9x book value which now comprises the majority of the sector, is where mergers and acquisitions (M&A) have tended to take place in the recent past. Combined with significant share buybacks already taking place in the sector, additional M&A could slow the growth of dedicated reinsurance sector capital, thereby restricting the supply of reinsurance. This, in turn, could eventually drive rates higher.

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