The past few years have not been good for reinsurers as a soft market, weak investment returns, lukewarm investor interest and sluggish consolidation activity have squeezed bottom lines, notes A.M. Best in its “Global Reinsurance Market Review” report.

Moreover, the favorable loss-reserve development that bolstered underwriting performance in 2010 is unlikely to be duplicated in 2011. Indeed, catastrophe losses–estimated as high as $60 billion for the first half of 2011–have diminished last January’s robust capital position. A glimmer of hope for the market is the possible improvement in pricing for property catastrophe business at January renewals, A.M. Best said. Gross premiums written also have remained fairly flat year over year.

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