HIR Business Model


Hamburger Internationale Rückversicherung AG (“HIR”) was founded in 1965 by the Volksfürsorge Deutsche Sachversicherung AG and acted as a professional reinsurer of Volksfürsorge group. The largest cedant of HIR at that time was its parent company with just under 50% of gross premium. By the late 1980s, more than 50% of its business was in the form of German based risks, whilst the remaining portfolio composed of European business but also of assumed risks from US-American cedents. On the international side HIR had representative offices in Malaysia and Italy, a branch for property/casualty business in the USA and daughter companies in the UK and the USA, the latter specialized on life reinsurance.

HIR was put into run-off in 1990, making it one of the first German companies to go down this route. The decision was due largely to organisational factors and followed the sale of HIR’s parent company Volksfürsorge to Aachener und Münchener Group and La Fondiaria Group. HIR did not fit into the acquisition strategy, since each of the new owners already had a reinsurer being Aachener Re and Fenice Re.

HIR was finally acquired by Ivor Kiverstein, the founder of the service provider Chiltington in London 1982. Early on in the run-off, one block of business was identified as saleable and was transferred to Hannover Re. Hannover Re in 1990 also bought the Italian and Kuala Lumpur branches as was HIR’s Orlando based US Life subsidiary. The UK subsidiary, HIR (UK), was closed down in 2001 in a solvent scheme of arrangement. In 2002 HIR completed its US run-off and closed down its Orlando branch with the consent of the Florida Insurance Department and transferred the portfolio to HIR for further administration.

In 2012 the shareholders of HIR decided to sell the company to Tawa Plc.

Following the decision to put HIR into run-off in 1990, the HIR Board assessed the book of business and decided on a conventional run-off strategy centered on the twin goals of reducing liabilities and cutting costs. As a matter of priority, a commutation strategy was developed. HIR with no exception fulfilled all obligations versus its cedents since being in run-off. It is HIR’s objective also for the future to commute its international portfolio.

From the beginning of the run-off HIR acquired several companies and reinsurance books in run-off. Some of these run-offs have been finalized already. For example, in 1999 HIR acquired Pavant International Re, Paris from AGF-group, a former daughter company of Preservatrice Fonciere d’Assurances i.a.r.d.

Lastly, reinsurance portfolios in run-off of SV SparkassenVersicherung Holding AG, Stuttgart (2011) of Oberösterreichische Versicherung AG, Linz (2012) and of Niedersachsen Versicherungs-Aktiengesellschaft (2013) have been transferred to HIR. Further such transfers and acquisitions are shortly before finalisation.

HIR will also in the future focus on such portfolio transfers resp. the purchase of (re)insurance companies especially in Continental Europe.


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