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While reinsurer financial results reveal the negative effects of the same forces that battered insurers in 2008, executives believe a higher level of discipline by reinsurance underwriters gives the group a more favorable outlook than would be the case for primary carriers in 2009.

Speaking at the Standard & Poor’s 2009 Insurance Conference in New York earlier this month, executives whose organizations participate heavily in the U.S. reinsurance market also said reinsurers are in better shape than they were a decade ago, although some suggested the segment remains vulnerable to the impact of severe losses.

Rolf Tolle, franchise performance director for Lloyd’s, gave the first positive assessment during a session on reinsurance strategies, later voicing a minority opinion about the reinsurance segment’s exposure to systemic risk.

“I think people have learned their lessons,” Mr. Tolle said, pointing out that market participants take a more conservative approach to underwriting than they did at the turn of the century. “In general, they are looking forward [and] taking a long-term view. That’s what we have to put our attention on,” he said.

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