The Basics of Reinsurance

Reinsurance is a term used to describe the method that insurance companies use to lower portfolio risk. Insurance companies are also subject to risks when large claims are filed. This method is used to lower these risks and make the company more profitable. Here are a few things to consider about reinsurance.


Reinsurance involves one insurance company's purchase of an insurance policy from another insurance company. This is basically insurance for insurance companies. Sometimes, this type of coverage is also referred to as stop-loss insurance. One insurance company will basically be buying a portion of the risks from another insurance company. The company that takes over the risks will also receive some of the compensation from the insurance policies.

Lowering Risk

The primary objective of this strategy is to lower the overall risk of an insurance company's portfolio. With this type of insurance coverage, an insurance company can lower the overall risk of a portfolio. When an insurance company sells a certain number of policies, they are not planning on all of the policies being utilized at the same time. If this were to occur, it could result in financial losses for the insurance company. In order to spread out this risk and diversify it a bit, they can sell some of the risks to other insurance companies. This way, if something catastrophic were to occur, the insurance company would be able to share the risk with another insurance company instead of taking it all on alone.

Income Smoothing

Another advantage of reinsurance is that it allows the insurance company to smooth out their income. With this strategy, they will not have an up and down income growth curve. Instead, the income growth will be smooth and more predictable. 


This technique also allows insurance companies to take advantage of arbitrage. Arbitrage is a term for the practice of generating risk-free income by purchasing something in one market and selling it in another for a profit. Sometimes, insurance companies can sell policies at a certain price and then sell them to another insurance company for a lower price. This allows the insurance company to make a profit on each policy even though they are not necessarily taking on any of the risk associated with the policy.


Insurance companies attempt to get good ratings in the insurance industry. Sometimes, when a company gets to a certain point, they need help getting to another level of insurance company ratings. By lowering the overall risk of their portfolio, they could potentially increase their rating as a company. By doing this, an insurance company can generate more business and become more profitable over the long term.

Solvency Margins

Insurance companies have to have a certain amount of capital on hand in order to take on new customers. They have to have money in reserves in order to guarantee a policy. By using reinsurance, companies can take on new customers without having to come up with extra money to account for the reserves.