Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Muenchener Rueckver Ges (MURGY) Q4 2020 Earnings Call Transcript

By Motley Fool Transcribers - Apr 11, 2021 at 4:58AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

MURGY earnings call for the period ending December 31, 2020.

Logo of jester cap with thought bubble.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Muenchener Rueckver Ges (MURGY -6.52%)
Q4 2020 Earnings Call
Feb. 25, 2021, 9:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good day, and welcome to the Munich Re Analyst and Investors Call on Annual Results and January Renewals. Today's conference is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Becker-Hussong. Please go ahead, sir.

Christian Becker-Hussong -- Head of Investor & Rating Agency Relations

Yeah. Thank you very much. Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our call on our full year 2020 earnings release, including 1/1 renewals and the outlook for 2021. I have the pleasure to be here with Joachim Wenning, our CEO; and Christoph Jurecka, our CFO. And both gentlemen will kick it off with their statements. And afterwards, we will go right into Q&A, and we have ample opportunity to answer your questions. So I suggest, Joachim, the floor is yours.

Joachim Wenning -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Management

Thank you very much, Christian, and good afternoon, everybody out there. Thanks for joining this conference. As said, Christoph and I would like to report the final figures 2020, the outlook 2021, and again, highlight one of the other essentials of our Ambition 2025.

To start with, the corona pandemic has had, no doubt, a decisive impact on 2020. But also without any doubt, in the absence of corona, today, we would have celebrated an excellent business result. And despite COVID-related losses of around EUR3.5 billion, we closed the year with a profit of EUR1.2 billion. And despite the very material COVID-19 losses, despite the further drop in interest rates and despite significant business growth also requiring capital, of course, we closed the year with a solvency ratio of 208% in the upper quarter of our optimal range that you know.

And subject to the approval of the AGM later in May -- sorry, in April, we will pay a dividend of EUR9.80 per share, unchanged from the previous year. We, as you know, have been keeping our dividend promise now for more than 50 years, even in challenging years, without any one exception to date. And we don't want to change that.

Looking back, we have delivered on our mid-term Ambition 2020 and also successfully mastered the three-year period, 2018 and '19, '20. And I may add, despite quite some challenges in that period like falling interest rates, above-average large losses, and barely any significant tailwind from the P&C rate cycle, because P&C rates really only started going up more broadly since last year, only in 2020. So overall, our success was driven by good growth and good earnings in reinsurance, the turnaround of ERGO and savings.

Every year -- if you look on Slide 5, every year, we report on how natural catastrophes are developing. In our most recent report on the year 2020, we again highlighted that climate change is coming with ever higher costs. Weather-related natural catastrophes become more frequent and more severe. And in this context, we are a proven partner of our clients with expertise and in many cases, large or even very large insurance capacities.

The message that we would like to add again, now, today, is that in addition to all that, with our climate ambition announced two months ago, we are also committing ourselves to targets in line with the Paris Agreement. Our targets are science-based. They are very concrete. They are binding, and they are measurable. Just to recall, we are committed to net-zero without exception in all areas.

So firstly, on the investment side. And not only net-zero in 2050, we commit to five-year milestones. The next one in 2025. We will have reduced our carbon footprint by at least 25%, maybe slightly below 30%. Secondly, that ambition is the same on the liability side, net-zero by 2050, of course, but we will be out of thermal coal business already by 2040. And that business footprint, we will already reduce by 35% points in the five years to come. And also, with regard to oil and gas, we start reducing that footprint by 5%, at a lower pace, because systemically, these energy sources are still very important, as science suggests.

So the -- you will see we will be out of the business with explorers and producers of fossil energies at the latest by the point in time when science suggests that those fossil energies are no longer compatible with Paris 2050. So we hope that this good example is a good example for other industries and companies to follow for the sake of climate change or climate protection. And thirdly, of course, we also have a net-zero ambition with regard to our own emissions from buildings and from traveling, etc. We have reduced that dramatically already the last 10 years by little less than 50% CO2 emission per person. We're going to reduce it by another 12% in the five years to come. We will be net-zero by 2030.

Let's move on. A systemic risk like COVID-19 poses many challenges to risk management, of course, because too much of this risk can be poison and undigestible, but also to business continuity. And with regard to both aspects, we can be very satisfied with how we have dealt with the pandemic. Although the COVID-19 losses are material for the whole industry, including ourselves, they are well manageable and they are digestible, and at no point they have weakened our capital strengths so that not only we pay a dividend but also benefit from current growth opportunities.

Let me move on to the 1/1 renewal in reinsurance. We have taken the opportunity of the hardening market to grow further in P&C. Prices have increased, as you know, risk adjusted, so margin improving by 2.4%. In 2020 and in 2019 January renewals, those rate increases were then only 1.2% or 0%, so you see the trend increase in the rate development. And we've seen the strongest increase in the property XL business, so non-proportional property business, as well as in particularly loss-affected businesses, in these areas often double digit. And in some cases, with very large capacities, deeply into double-digit increases.

In all other areas, I would say, across the board, single-digit rate increases. And as planned, we seized this opportunity, and we're able to expand our business by 10.9% in terms of premiums so that we can see we are -- say, we are really pleased with a really good renewal, which fully supports the target combined ratio, as we have communicated it for this year, 2021.

And if you allow me, the outlook for the 1/4 renewal and the 1/7 renewal this year should be even better because those renewals typically are nat cat heavier, but we will see when we come there.

Slide 8 shows the regions and the lines of businesses and how they have seen rate changes and how we could leverage these rate changes for business growth. I think what becomes obvious is that in no region and in no line of business have we seen any rate deteriorations. This is different from previous years. And to us, this is another good sign of markets hardening.

With regard to investments, Christoph is going to give you some more details in a moment. However, I'd like to just take this opportunity to reiterate that not only was the 2020 investment result very pleasing with a return on investment of 3% in a difficult year with ups and downs, but also I'd like to reiterate that the investment strategy in place has the power to partially counterbalance the yield erosion, which is the consequence of declining interest rates, while we are not increasing our appetite for market risk.

All in all, the path we took three years ago has had a very positive impact on our total shareholder return. In the three years since 2018, the TSR has increased by more than 50%. And compared to our peers, this was first best. We will work hard that the five years ahead of us will hopefully look similarly positive.

And then you have the Slides 11, 12 and 13 in your deck, which are a repetition, if you like, from our Investor Day presentation last December. What they are saying in summary is that this year, 2021, the expectation of delivering a EUR2.8 billion result means that we will be already back at the pre-corona earnings level this year. We will maintain our capital strength. We have strengthened the growth elements of the proven strategies at ERGO and in reinsurance. And as a consequence, we expect growing earnings and returns on capital -- on equity of 12% to 14%, and we aim for an average annual dividend growth per share of at least 5%.

And with this introduction, I'd like to hand over to Christoph.

Christoph Jurecka -- Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board of Management

Thank you, Joachim. First of all, welcome also from my side. It's a pleasure really to lead you through the financial update today. Let's start actually with the financial results of 2020 on Page 15. We are very pleased, Joachim mentioned that, I think, already, we are very pleased with the 2020 financial performance considering the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our IFRS result, EUR1.2 billion, would have met our guidance if adjusted for COVID-19. And if you look at the drivers in reinsurance, we digested COVID losses of EUR3.4 billion pre-tax and delivered ongoing profitable growth of around 10%, both in P&C, as well as in life health. ERGO successfully concluded the five-year strategy program with a net profit of EUR517 million, which is quite close to the guidance, EUR530 million. And adjusted for COVID, I think it's fair to say that ERGO would have exceeded the guidance.

The economic capitalization remains strong, 208%. And with that Solvency II ratio, which is after the deduction of the dividend, we are still close to the upper end of our optimal range and we are very comfortable on that level. Local GAAP, HGB, German GAAP, here, we see an increase in the earnings also compared to last year, largely driven by one-offs. But to remind you, very obviously, local GAAP accounting in Germany is differing a lot from the IFRS rule. So we are all used to having differences between IFRS and local GAAP. It has been -- these differences have been negative in quite some years in the past. This year, it's the opposite. Nothing else to mention here, I think.

On Page 16, you see the COVID-19 impact in some more detail. And I think what you see here is that we almost fully confirm the guidance we had given back in December. The provision for 2020 increased only marginally. And also, the expectations for 2021 are largely unchanged as well. And we are confident that we are solidly reserved. But, of course, we can only monitor the situation closely since there remains a high level of uncertainty in all these estimates.

Going into a little bit more detail. P&C, the loss estimate of EUR3.1 billion overall is sufficiently prudent. And on top of that, at the end of 2020, only 22% of this amount are losses reported to us precedence. And of the total 78% of IBNR, a significant portion has not yet been assigned to a specific loss or a specific contract. This indicates, on one hand side, the high degree of uncertainty that exists in the estimates, but then also the degree to which we have built large provisions for losses even where we do not know exactly already when and where they will eventually be reported to us. So I think another signal of prudence here.

Referring to Life and Health. We are strongly provisioned for 2020 claims as well, including also prudent IBNRs for claims incurred in 2020 but not yet reported. The IBNR makes up approximately half of our booked losses for 2020. Our projection of claims cost for 2021 anticipated a strong winter surge in cases with an improvement starting late in Q1, driven by the rollout of the vaccines. While the level of the winter surge in cases in the United States, in the U.K. and also in some other countries are higher than what we anticipated, whether or not this ultimately will translate into higher full year costs than anticipated, this is still very much dependent on how the pandemic will develop over the course of 2021 and there, particularly, of course, in the United States.

Now let's have a look at the Q4 figures on Page 17. And Q4 is actually really fully in line with the guidance. So I think we can be very quick here. Reinsurance contributed EUR75 million, ERGO EUR136 million to the overall EUR212 million net result. ERGO once again posted a strong result in that quarter despite the COVID-19 impact. And on the reinsurance side, we benefited from a favorable major loss experience apart from COVID-19. And the normalized combined ratio, a very nice signal of the very good underlying profitability of our book, was 96.6%. So to some extent, lower than the 97%, which was the full year guidance.

In Life and Health Re, we continued to see elevated mortality in the context of COVID-19. And related to that, we established an IBNR to cope with reporting lags, but also in the field of living benefit covers. In addition, we observed a further negative experience in the U.S. that goes beyond COVID-19. Also, we must say there's evidence that at least a significant share of this can also be associated indirectly with COVID-19. Furthermore, there was a single large claim in Asia in Q4, which also influenced the result. Fee income business continued to deliver pleasing contributions like it did already for a large number of quarters. Finally, the investment result, 3.3%, was above the full year guidance and driven by realizations to offset derivative losses.

Next page is a quick reminder on the ROE. As you know, we discussed it in December. We introduced the return on equity now as a key performance indicator for our group. This slide now shows the number at year-end, nothing more than that. The group ROE came in at 5.3%, which is below our cost of capital. But then if we adjusted it for COVID-19 effects, the normalized ROE would have been around 12%.

Let's have a closer look at our investment result, Page 19, which fully met the guidance of 3% for the year. Starting with the regular income. The attrition of 30 basis points was unusually high, of course, affected by COVID-19 and the de-risking of our portfolio we did in that context. So specifically, we recorded lower income from public and private equity investments. But on top of that, of course, the even low interest rate levels also hurt us here. Going forward, we return to an expectation for a negative attrition of around 10 basis points, in line with the former guidance.

The unrealized gains increased up to a level of now EUR37 billion. In that context, I think we discussed at various times it's a normal course of things that reserves get realized anyway in the course of the normal portfolio management activities. On top of that, some reserves have been realized for compensating losses on derivatives for hedging, also to compensate some writedowns we had in the -- especially in the first quarter. And then also, as usually, for the financing of so-called ZZR, so the additional interest rate reserve we build up in our German primary life businesses to prepare them for an ongoing low interest rate environment. All in all, in the very volatile year we saw in 2020, we are pleased with the investment income, also with the overall development of the portfolio and the stable outcome of the activities.

The next two slides cover ERGO now. ERGO fully met its net income target if we would take out the COVID-19 impact. So I think that's another year with very good news on the ERGO result. The premium volume was almost stable. There was some pressure due to COVID-19 in some lines, especially travel, which is shown here as part of the Life and Health segment. On the other hand, P&C Germany was growing very nicely in the retail and commercial lines. And we don't have any market figures yet, but we are convinced that this growth is above market. And therefore, ERGO was also possible to increase its market share in Germany.

Internationally, the volume is stable. But as you know, we sold a number of companies last year. So the stable development means that the companies which we want to grow that they're delivering nice growth. Net result was supported by all segments, which is very pleasing. In particular, the international business posted strong results. The combined ratio in international came in at 92.7%, which is an excellent number, given that the target was 94%. In Germany, the combined ratio remained on the very good level, which we had last year already, so 92.4% in 2020 is also a very good outcome.

On the next slide, what you can see here is a collection of key performance indicators of the ERGO Strategy Program over the last five years. And what you see here is that ERGO has completed the strategy program, delivering on its financial targets without any exception across the whole five-year period. And not only financially, but also operationally, ERGO has successfully finished the ERGO Strategy Program and regained a competitive position in Germany by establishing the so-called hybrid operating model across all distribution channels.

Internationally, the portfolio has been optimized, as mentioned before. And also there, ERGO is a much better -- in a much better shape now than it was five years ago. So if you look at that, I think it's clear that ERGO now did an important step and is well prepared for the next step of our strategy, which we presented already in December for you.

On Page 22, reinsurance. First of all, in P&C reinsurance, we show significant organic growth in almost all lines of business, taking advantage of the hardening markets and also of new business opportunities. Additionally, also, our Life and Health business expanded by around EUR1 billion across all core markets. The bottom line results, though, substantially declined, but this is due to COVID-19-related losses. In P&C, these losses were, to some extent, mitigated by low average nat cat losses, which came in below our budget both for Q4 as well as for the full year.

The underlying profitability improved significantly over the last year. We show a normalized combined ratio just below 97% for the full year. And as I said, the last quarter was even better than that. Given the pleasing outcome, Joachim was commenting on that, of the January renewals, we are very optimistic that this trend will persist.

The Life and Health reinsurance technical result including fee income will also short of the full year ambition. And again, this was exclusively owing or nearly exclusively owing to the impact of COVID-19 mortality claims and then also some related trends, as mentioned before. We had strong results in other geographies outside of the United States and also strong and increasing fee income, which strengthened the underlying profitability of our Life and Health book. So adjusted for COVID-19, we continue to see a gradually increasing earnings path in Life and Health.

On Page 23, just a snapshot on our Risk Solutions business, which also had a very pleasing development with strong business growth and a combined ratio improvement of almost 4 percentage points compared to prior year. We benefited from better market conditions and also expanded our footprint substantially across all units. And as you can see, and that's also something we, I think, commented on a lot already in December, Risk Solutions remains a growing and profitable segment and a key part of our strategy going forward. And, yeah, we will just continue to organically grow this business.

Turning to reserving on Page 24. I think the first item on the list here, COVID-19, I think everything has been said already before. Also on asbestos, there's nothing I would like to comment other than that we are very safely being reserved here and I think results continue to be at a strong level. Therefore, I'd like to concentrate my comments on the slide here on U.S. casualty.

As you all know, the U.S. casualty loss trend is a topic that continues to affect the whole insurance industry at the moment, and we are also seeing adverse loss developments in our U.S. book. We have to distinguish, though, between different areas. We have observed adverse development, in particular, in the U.S. commercial liability lines and strengthened our reserves here again in 2020. On the other hand, areas such, for example -- for example, the personal lines business have shown a much more favorable development. And then from much order perspective, again, our book overall continue to have a very pleasing and positive reserve development. So the pockets where we had to strengthen the reserves are not visible overall as the ongoing reserve releases continue to be above our guidance of 4% with 4.2%, particularly this year, fully in line with our expectation and despite the challenging environment. Our reserve strength is unchanged compared to prior years.

As you can see on Page 25, our Solvency II ratio decreased to 208% due to various drivers. First of all, we grew our book significantly over the last year, and growth means deploying capital. On top of that, of course, COVID-19 and related capital market effects, most prominently, the lower interest rate, also left its mark with negative economic earnings and also, what we saw, and I'll comment on that on the next slide, is an increase in required capital. It's important to notice that the 208% Solvency II ratio already includes the deduction of the dividend of 7 percentage points.

I think at this point, I traditionally remind you of our conservative way of calculating the Solvency II ratio. So I would just like to repeat that again today. So we have not included any transitional measures in our numbers here. We also do not use the dynamic volatility adjustment, and even the static volatility adjustment is only used for a very small number of subsidiaries in our group.

Despite this conservative calculation, our ratio is still close to the upper end of the self-defined optimal range. And as I said already at the beginning of my presentation, we feel very comfortable with that level. More details on the sources of economic earnings will be provided with the release of our annual report on March 17.

On the solvency capital requirement, I can release some more details already today, and this is done on Page 26. And what you see here is an increase of the Solvency II capital requirement from EUR17.5 billion to EUR19.2 billion. What are the drivers in P&C? The SCR increase is mainly growth-driven. While in Life and Health, it's also growth, but mainly the result of the lower interest rates. On the investment risk side, so market and credit risk, we have diversified our book further and we partially de-risked also the portfolio. Still, the SCR went up, mostly by the decline of the interest rates and also by higher risk charges, which we applied considering the elevated volatility in the capital markets, especially in the first half of the year. Overall, we maintained the balance between insurance and investment risk, which is important to us, and continue to see that as a very healthy balance, as shown on Page 26.

Last but not least, on my Page 27, a few comments on German GAAP. The German GAAP result of EUR3.2 billion came in much higher than the IFRS result. And as I said before, this is due to the differences we have between the two accounting standards, which lead to timing variations with respect to the recognition of earnings in the P&L. In 2020, this was mainly due to high dividends for subsidiaries and to some real estate transactions within our group. But once again, of course, also due to the requirement to build up the equalization reserves in our local GAAP accounts, as you can see on the right hand side of the slide.

There's one point on this slide I would like to particularly emphasize. The very high level of distributable earnings we show here now with EUR4.3 billion will not lead to higher capital repatriation over and above the plans and the capital repatriation strategy we discussed at our Investor Day. But you should interpret it as a strong basis to fund the growing dividends and to support our opportunistic approach to share buybacks in the future.

With that, I'm at the end of my presentation. Thank you very much for your attention. I'm looking forward to your questions. Back to you, Christian.

Christian Becker-Hussong -- Head of Investor & Rating Agency Relations

Yeah. Thank you, gentlemen, for your statements. We are now ready to go into Q&A. And just one usual housekeeping remark, please limit the number of your questions to a maximum of two per person. So please go ahead.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. [Operator Instructions] We will now take our first question from Kamran Hossain of RBC. Please go ahead.

Kamran Hossain -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Hi. Afternoon. Yeah, my two questions, the first one is on P&C Re. The expense ratio there looks to have reduced about 3 points year-on-year. How much of this is permanent? Or is this kind of less COVID spend? And I guess, looking forward, should greater operational leverage from growing at the 1/1 renewals and further growth to come in later years improve this further? And the second question is on Life Re. Given how U.S. mortality has kind of increased pretty substantially, even since your December guidance, are you still comfortable with the EUR400 million Life target? Thank you.

Christoph Jurecka -- Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board of Management

Yeah. Kamran, good afternoon. Christoph here. I'm going to take both of your questions. Expense ratio development, there are some one-off elements in there as we, for example, released some provisions also in Q4. But fundamentally, a major driver is growth here. And as we have been growing our book quite significantly and continue to do so, I think there is continued pressure also on the expense ratio going forward despite the fact that some of the one-offs will not repeat themselves again this year.

On the Life Re side, U.S. mortality, indeed, the winter spike was probably a little bit higher in the first couple of weeks of this year than what we had in our mind when we came up with the estimate in December. However, I mean this is a long year ahead of us, and therefore, I think it will be far too early to say that our guidance would no longer be the right one. Maybe the risk is a little bit higher that we will not achieve the target, but the guidance is what it is and it is unchanged.

Kamran Hossain -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

That's brilliant. Thanks very much.

Operator

We'll take our next question from Andrew Ritchie of Autonomous. Please go ahead.

Andrew Ritchie -- Autonomous Research -- Analyst

Hi, there. First one, I don't normally ask about top-line for non-Life, but I'm going to ask this time. At the Investor Day in December, you gave a 2021 premium number for P&C Re, including Risk Solutions, of EUR24.6 billion of GWP, which was anticipated to be a growth on 2020. It turns out 2020 ended at that number. So it looks like it ended stronger than expected. What -- and therefore, is your expectation still a flat GWP over the course of full year '21? I appreciate there's currency effects and possibly COVID effects, but maybe if you could just update. Or was there something funny about Q4 in P&C, which inflated the premium?

The second question, could you just remind us what your sort of approach or view is on U.S. casualty? I think looking at Slide 83, which allows for renewals, you have kept your U.S. casualty book essentially flat year-on-year. Is that the case? So am I right to interpret you're not entirely comfortable yet growing that business mindful of loss cost issues? Thanks.

Joachim Wenning -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Management

Hi, Andrew, this is Joachim. So let me give you the answer on the premium expectations or the premium outlook. Frankly, we don't pay so much attention to our premium planning because we don't steer premiums. It's just a number that comes out at the end when we do the accounts. So we do the economic steering. We do the IFRS steering, and there, we apply quite some accuracy. We do not care so much for premium. Now that doesn't give you a precise answer, but it just means, yes, the outlook that we talked about in December may, in the meantime, tend to be at the lower end, we should end up higher.

Christoph Jurecka -- Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board of Management

Yeah. Andrew, U.S. casualty, I'm happy to take that. I think you were referring to Page 83, and you're right, the book is stable. And I mean you're rightly saying that we are not significantly growing the book. I would even go beyond that. What we had in the 1/1 renewal is also a shift in our casualty book from XL, from excess of loss treaties to proportional treaties, further reducing the amount of excess of loss treaties we are having and then increasing the share of proportional, which also gives us more confidence going forward. So yes, indeed, we continue to be cautious in that segment.

Andrew Ritchie -- Autonomous Research -- Analyst

Okay, thanks.

Operator

We'll take our next question from Vikram Gandhi of Societe Generale. Please go ahead.

Vikram Gandhi -- Societe Generale -- Analyst

Hi, it's Vikram, SocGen. Just a couple of quick questions. One is on P&C Re. The -- I noticed the attritional loss ratio for the full year has actually increased by a full percentage point. I just wondered what could explain this? And secondly, it's on the expense ratio, and you've partly answered it in the -- in one of the previous questions that you had a one-off in Q4. But for Q4 specifically, we are used to seeing a bump up in the expense ratio, generally, due to sliding scale commission adjustments. I wondered if there's any other specific driver this time around and whether this is the sort of new pattern that we should be expecting going forward? Thank you.

Christoph Jurecka -- Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board of Management

Yeah. Christoph again. Well, thank you for the question first. I'll start with the second one, Q4 expenses. I think I was mentioning before already that we were able to release some provisions also, so cost provisions, and we did specifically do so in the fourth quarter. So that might already be the explanation you're looking for.

On the attritional loss ratio, I think a couple of statements here. First of all, business mix always plays a role. So it's not that simple to compare just the nominal values against each other. On top of that, as you know, we are always taking conservative loss picks in the current year, which we also did again this year. And if you look at our triangle [Phonetic], where we have two years with negative runoff. We might have felt inclined to even be more conservative than traditionally in the current year. And maybe that also plays a role when you look at that number. So there's not a single reason for that. But yes, your observation is right.

Vikram Gandhi -- Societe Generale -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you.

Operator

We'll take our next question from Vinit Malhotra of Mediobanca. Please go ahead.

Vinit Malhotra -- Mediobanca -- Analyst

Yes. Good afternoon, thank you. My questions, the first one would be on Risk Solutions, please. So the 96.8%, I think the medium-term plan or at least at some point in the Investor Day plan was to get to 92% for this part of the business. So my question is that, is this 97% sort of consistent with the planning? And then could you remind us how the walk should be because, as we know, this is not really the pure commercial lines exposed book? So that is the first topic, Risk Solutions.

Second topic is, and apologies just for going back to U.S. liability, where I understand, obviously, you've taken conservative reserving. But just if I look at Slide 76 of the pack of the renewals, the biggest line is proportional casualty. And you mentioned you have increased in it. So would you mind -- I mean, is this more into Europe? And could you also please clarify, you said that you were careful about U.S. commercial liability, but not so about personal lines. But could you please clarify a bit more on the U.S. casualty, please? Thank you very much.

Christoph Jurecka -- Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board of Management

Yeah. Okay. Let's maybe start with U.S. casualty then. I mean we are -- I mean -- sorry for the very general answer. But -- I mean we are always cautious where we do not see attractive enough prices in the market. And this is very often the case in the commercial space and sometimes also the case in the personal space. But generally spoken, the personal lines business is less affected by social inflation and all these trends. And therefore, we are more -- generally more confident in this personal space.

The other statement is, I think that we generally feel more comfortable in the casualty area with the proportional treaties. That's why we also shifted exposure from XL to proportional in the renewal here. That's also one of the reasons here. And this is what you can -- also can see on the Slide 76 you're referring to, where you see a positive volume change in proportional and, at the same time, a reduction in XL. And if you look at the order of magnitude, often, a proportional treaty itself is higher premium volumes because you participate also in the premiums of the primary insurer, whereas the XL premiums are pure risk premiums and the nominal value sometimes tends to be much lower. So you also have to keep that in mind when you look at volume changes going up in proportional and going down in XL. The absolute numbers sometimes differ quite a lot. And I think that's the whole story, really. So nothing else to be reported here, and we continue to be cautious. We took decisive action on the reserving side.

Maybe last remark also on reserving. We reserve the business relying on our own assessment. So we do not take the picks from our client's, loss picks, and then their expectation, but really do it in our own way and, well, looked at the business as prudent as always. But then on the other hand, of course, it was another year where we had to take some action at certain pockets of our casualty books and clearly, we are not happy with that.

The other question, Risk Solutions. And I think two answers to that. First of all, also our Risk Solutions business was quite heavily affected by cat events. And whereas on our overall business, we came in below our cat budgets. For Risk Solutions, in particular, in the U.S., we exceeded the budget quite significantly. And therefore, the 96.8% this year was also still driven by above-average cat exposure. And therefore, I would say it's a journey to -- then down to lower numbers. But obviously, also that business, despite being more stable, has some volatility in it. And in this year, 2020, the cat experience was not great in Risk Solutions. And also we will see rate increases going forward on that book, of course. So it's a journey down to that target level of 92%.

Vinit Malhotra -- Mediobanca -- Analyst

Thank you, Christoph.

Operator

We'll take our next question from Thomas Fossard of HSBC. Please go ahead.

Thomas Fossard -- HSBC -- Analyst

Yes. Good afternoon. I've got two questions. The first one would be relating to your pricing of 2.5% positive in the 1/1 renewals. Could you explain us a bit how you've taken positive original rate momentum in your proportional book? How has it been factored in your 2.5%? Also, what is the claims inflation and maybe the model changes also that you have factored in? Just to phrase the question differently, you're reporting 2.5%, which seems to be the less positive pricing momentum of the European peers, while I guess that you believe that you had very strong renewals. So maybe if you could give us a bit of granularities around the 2.5%, just to make us understand why these have very strong economic renewals?

And the second question would be related to your local GAAP number. So you highlighted EUR800 million of additional acquisition reserves increase in 2020. What's going to be the incremental number that we have to expect in the coming years given, I guess, that due to COVID, maybe some of your equalization reserves have been depleted? So what's the run rate beyond 2020? Thank you.

Christoph Jurecka -- Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board of Management

Yeah, Thomas, thank you for the question. Starting with the 2.4% price increase, and I think I have to talk a little bit about methodology now. I think that the very general high level remark would be the 2.4% is a number we would fully expect to be earned through in our combined ratio over time going forward. This means this number includes not only claims inflation effects but also changed business mix effects, for example. So this number includes, for example, if you have different growth numbers in different lines, it includes also, if you have XL contracts versus proportional contracts, that's all included. Also included claims inflation, not only on our level but with proportional treaties, of course, also the underlying business, but then again, as I said before, on the reserving side, based on our own assessment and not just by what we hear from our clients.

So it is really our own best estimate what we think claims inflation will be and trends like social inflation or all these nice little events which led to higher reserves this year on the liability side, all these kind of things are fully included as claims inflation in the pricing assessment as well as model changes, our most recent expectation, let's call it that way, on the property side and on the cat side. So it's to the best of our knowledge, our best estimate expectation on the claims side, and that's fully deducted -- mix effects fully deducted, and what remains is the best estimate what we think will be fully earned through in the combined ratio.

Extremely sorry. I thought I covered it already, but I was taken away by the methodology, sorry. HGB, yes, equalization reserves, there is, every year, a theoretical maximum number, which in Germany is called the so-called Solidarpakt [Phonetic] And this is the number where you would end if each individual line would be filled up to the maximum possible in that reserve, which is an unrealistic scenario, because it would mean over many, many years, all the lines are outperforming and you have to fill it all every single year. And this Solidarpakt is also very much growth-driven because it's premium proportional. So if you grow your book, your Solidarpakt also goes up. Currently, the Solidarpakt is still a mid-single-digit billion number above our current level. But then it has not, of course, not to be filled up in a single year, but it will be distributed over time.

Having said that, the expectation needs to be that they are equal -- that they are contributions of equal size, not unrealistic going forward. So -- and everything else is really hard to predict because the formula and the way to calculate it is not only very complex, it's also sometimes counterintuitive, what happens there. And therefore, it's really hard to predict sometimes. But I would not be surprised to have similar orders of magnitude in the next couple of years to be built up.

Thomas Fossard -- HSBC -- Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

We'll take our next question from Michael Haid of Commerzbank. Please go ahead.

Michael Haid -- Commerzbank AG -- Analyst

Thank you very much. Good afternoon. Two questions from my side. First, on nat cat. One of your competitors materially reduced its exposure to secondary perils such as hailstorms and fires, mid-sized storms and so on, and thus reduced the exposure to frequency as they think that these risks in times of climate change are not adequately priced yet. How comfortable are you with this lower layer and secondary perils, unmodeled risks?

Second question on Life Re. You mentioned that higher mortality during the course of 2021 may not necessarily increase or lead to higher losses. Can you explain why this is the case? Do you have any mechanisms in place, reinsurance or whatever? Or is your exposure just too small?

Christoph Jurecka -- Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board of Management

Okay. Yeah. First one -- yeah, let's start with the mortality question. I think the answer to the question is just very straightforward that our reserve level is already quite high. So a lot is covered already by the reserves. And the second question, secondary perils, non-modeled nat cat risk, and so on, and the frequency risk and so on and so forth. I think the general answer is that, of course, we try to include in our models as much as possible. And of course, we also -- we are feeling much more comfortable as soon as something is properly modeled in our risk models. Frequency risks and events not fully included on models, I think we are careful and have been historically, and try to be a little bit reluctant in underwriting there.

Michael Haid -- Commerzbank AG -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you very much.

Operator

We'll take our next question from Jochen Schmitt of Metzler. Please go ahead.

Jochen Schmitt -- Metzler -- Analyst

Thank you. Good afternoon. I have one question regarding the dividend proposal. Could you just update us on your talks with the German regulator in recent months? And what are the key metrics they have been focusing on in unit risk case? That's my question.

Christoph Jurecka -- Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board of Management

Okay. I'm very happy to do so. As you can imagine, those discussions were quite intense. They took a lot of time, and they were very constructive. I mean the German regulator was already constructive last year and this did not change at all. Key metrics, well, to be honest, it was a very holistic conversation we had. So similar, like in the call today, we are talking about economic view, IFRS, local GAAP, risk budgeting, SCR. Similarly, of course, also our regulator is interested in all these different perspectives. So it was a very holistic discussion more or less across all the different perspectives you could have on our company.

Jochen Schmitt -- Metzler -- Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

We'll take our next question from James Shuck of Citi. Please go ahead.

James Shuck -- Citi -- Analyst

Hi. Good afternoon, good morning. So a couple of things from me. I just wanted to dwell a little bit on frequency benefits, which we tend to focus a little bit, perhaps too much on the primary side. And the reinsurers, to some extent, I mean, I can understand on the proportional side, particularly on retail, that should be just a mechanical thing. But equally, just less reduced economic activity and changes in societal behavior. How are you thinking about frequency benefits in 2021? I know you had your target combined ratio. Do you allow for any frequency benefits in there? Would that come on top? And I suppose the flip side of that is when you're setting loss picks, how are you thinking about potential supply chain disruptions through COVID?

Second question was around the -- on Slide 53, which shows the Life VaR. So I think the VaR has gone up a little bit, but it's mainly market-driven and business growth-driven. My question is kind of really about, well, when you look at these, given your experience with COVID, particularly on mortality and the morbidity side, when we think about long COVID, have you not reassessed your models and revised that with some of those VaRs? Or should you not do so? Thank you.

Christoph Jurecka -- Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board of Management

Okay. Well, first of all, frequency, and I understood your question in a way that you're talking about motor frequency, the benefits some primary players are primarily seeing when looking at the combined ratio development in 2020. I think the remark I can make here is that on the reinsurance side, we benefit to much, much smaller extent, if at all, from the development. Why is that? Because in most of the treaties, sliding scale commissions are pretty common. And therefore, the benefit would only sit at the primary insurer.

We have some frequency benefits on the motor side at ERGO, probably a little bit more in the international book because it has a higher portion in motor than in Germany, but probably also to some extent in Germany, as we also have some experience there that the frequency went down during the lockdown phases in Germany. Is it very significant? No, it's not, and it's clearly overcompensated already at ERGO by higher claims due to COVID-19. So the frequency effect is fully included in the quantification of the COVID-19 effect we gave you in the deck.

James Shuck -- Citi -- Analyst

It wasn't specifically just on motor. It was really just -- is it not logical to think that a reinsurance company should benefit from frequency across all sorts of the -- all parts of the portfolio, commercial and retail, proportional and excessive loss?

Christoph Jurecka -- Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board of Management

Well, I think it depends really a little bit line by line and then also how the business is structured. I think the most obvious is really motor. But then already on the fire side, I'm not so sure really because as soon as people stay at home more, there might even be a risk of more fire claims. And so it -- I don't think it's that straightforward. It's clearly not a trend, which is so significant that we have been discussing it exhaustively here.

James Shuck -- Citi -- Analyst

Okay. And on the...

Christoph Jurecka -- Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board of Management

Yeah, Life VaR. The increase is indeed mostly interest rate-driven, but that's by -- for sure, by far, the more important driver than any consideration about long COVID or morbidity or you name them, because it's just the much more important sensitivity on this value at risk. We are updating our models, also the Life side, quite regularly with recent experience and with recent claims expectations. But what we also have to say is, I mean, another maybe interesting and relevant question, so it's hard to find an answer right now, is if you look at the increased mortality right now, what's going to happen with mortality once this pandemic is over? Will we see a compensating reduced mortality going forward? Or will it just fade away in a sense that we go back to normal but without any offsetting effect?

And so in that sense, I think from a biometric perspective, there are more open questions than just the question of long COVID. And all of them are hard to really analyze and include in the models at this point in time, which -- because we just lack data. In any case, the interest rate component is the much more material one in any way for Life and Health risk for the slide you were referring to.

James Shuck -- Citi -- Analyst

Yeah. Okay. Thank you very much, Christoph.

Operator

We'll take our next question from Iain Pearce of Credit Suisse. Please go ahead.

Iain Pearce -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Hi. Thanks. Two for me, please. Firstly, on the strengthening you took in '18 and '19 accident years. Is this sort of all U.S. liability-related, mainly U.S. liability? Or were there any other sort of problem areas where you had to strengthen? And if so, could you provide some color around those? And then, secondly, I just had a question on the cyber book. We've seen some peers increase their loss ratios, and so you just have deterioration on some recent underwriting years there as well. If you could just comment on your experience in cyber, that would be useful. Thanks.

Joachim Wenning -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Management

Yeah. I'm very happy to do so. On the claims triangle, I think if you look into our releases over the last couple of years, what you will see is that a negative development in the first year is not fully unusual. We had that once in a while. And the reason often was that we used the first year to further increase prudency in our reserves. And there's an element of that this year also included in our triangle again. The other year, so the second negative year, this is clearly related to U.S. casualty. And this is more or rather uncommon for us to have two years in a row with negative development. And finally, then on the ERGO side. ERGO has some parts of its book where a clear allocation to years in the triangle is not easily possible.

And therefore, some COVID-19 experience of 2020 is also shown, for technical reasons, as a negative one-off in '19. But this is clearly just, let's say, a very approximate presentation or a mis-presentation of what's going on there. This have all been COVID-related. Without COVID, the ERGO one-off would have been positive. Yeah, that's all I can say on the triangle, I think.

On cyber, of course, we are aware that there has been a lot of talk around recent events in the cyber space. We do not observe it to that extent. If at all, it would be maybe a loss ratio shift of maybe up to 5 percentage points or something for our book, which continues to be overall very profitable.

Iain Pearce -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Perfect. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] We'll take our next question from Will Hardcastle of UBS. Please go ahead.

Will Hardcastle -- UBS -- Analyst

Yes. Hi, guys. A couple of questions on SCR, if that's OK. So you got the uplift for the P&C exposure goals, presumably, that's incorporating the successful 1 January renewal. Is it already including similar exposure growth assumptions for later renewals? You mentioned they're more nat cat heavy, but you're expecting higher prices. So just sort of an idea as to what's incorporated within that uplift this time? And then the second component is, what do we need to see in the market future? Do you see additional risk charges on the volatility side? I mean is there any way you can give us an indication of how much that SCR uplift was perhaps year-on-year for these higher volatility charges specifically?

Christoph Jurecka -- Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board of Management

Yeah. The first question is simpler to answer. So I'll start with that one. We include in the SCR calculation business which is already bound. And this is true only for the 1/1 renewal [Technical Issues] signed. As this is not the case for 1/4 and 1/7, it's not included in the calculation. The additional risk charges, that's hard to say. And honestly, I'm not even sure if we did internally a separate calculation. So not changing anything in our book, just changing the risk charges and run the full stochastic calculation, I don't think we did do that. What we can say is that it made quite some role already in Q2. I'm not aware that it did a lot -- it did intensify a lot over the remainder of the year. It was mostly an effect already visible in Q2. But the order of mechanism, sorry, I do not have any answer to that.

Will Hardcastle -- UBS -- Analyst

Okay. Just to come back on the forward renewal expectations, broadly, you've baked something in because it's a 12-month projection of a normal level of growth per se. Just trying to understand where that stacks up relative to the 11% volume growth from January?

Christoph Jurecka -- Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board of Management

Well, -- I mean hard to say today. It will depend on the volume and the outcome. I think here, a similar answer like on the Life and Health value at risk before holds true. I think the interest rate is a much bigger driver to our SCR than the growth, which we might be able to achieve in 1/4 or 1/7. But on the other hand, yes, of course, if we grow, it will -- I mean, it will mean additional capital deployment and then we would also be very happy to do so because it's just the expectation that in a marketplace like where we currently are, we will easily earn the cost of capital with the business we are writing right now.

Will Hardcastle -- UBS -- Analyst

Absolutely. Okay, thanks.

Operator

And there are no further questions at this time. I would like to turn the conference back to our hosts.

Christian Becker-Hussong -- Head of Investor & Rating Agency Relations

Thank you, and thanks to everyone for joining us this afternoon. A pleasure, as always. If there are further questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with the Investor Relations team, and we very much hope to see you all soon again. Stay healthy. Bye-bye.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 66 minutes

Call participants:

Christian Becker-Hussong -- Head of Investor & Rating Agency Relations

Joachim Wenning -- Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Management

Christoph Jurecka -- Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board of Management

Kamran Hossain -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Andrew Ritchie -- Autonomous Research -- Analyst

Vikram Gandhi -- Societe Generale -- Analyst

Vinit Malhotra -- Mediobanca -- Analyst

Thomas Fossard -- HSBC -- Analyst

Michael Haid -- Commerzbank AG -- Analyst

Jochen Schmitt -- Metzler -- Analyst

James Shuck -- Citi -- Analyst

Iain Pearce -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Will Hardcastle -- UBS -- Analyst

More MURGY analysis

Transcript powered by AlphaStreet

This article is a transcript of this conference call produced for The Motley Fool. While we strive for our Foolish Best, there may be errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in this transcript. As with all our articles, The Motley Fool does not assume any responsibility for your use of this content, and we strongly encourage you to do your own research, including listening to the call yourself and reading the company's SEC filings. Please see our Terms and Conditions for additional details, including our Obligatory Capitalized Disclaimers of Liability.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Münchener Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft Aktiengesellschaft Stock Quote
Münchener Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft Aktiengesellschaft
MURGY
$22.43 (-6.52%) $-1.56

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
316%
 
S&P 500 Returns
112%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 07/05/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.