Hannover Re is satisfied with the development of business in 2018. On the Group level we achieved or surpassed all our targets for the financial year. The burden of large losses caused by typhoons in Japan, forest fires in California and hurricanes in the United States remained within the bounds of our expectations overall, while the steps taken to remediate our US mortality business adversely impacted the result for the segment. Our investments delivered another highly pleasing contribution to Group net income, supported by very healthy earnings from real estate and private equity.
In life and health reinsurance we continue to see promising business opportunities in international markets, for example in the area of individual longevity products. In US mortality business better-than-expected mortality rates and the release of an expense reserve counteracted the strains from treaty recaptures in the year under review. Future losses will be largely eliminated for the relevant treaties in subsequent years, and we therefore anticipate a substantial improvement in profitability.
In property and casualty reinsurance we cannot discern any appreciable improvement in market conditions for reinsurers, despite the losses incurred over the past two years. Rates have stayed on a generally low, adequate level. The situation on global reinsurance markets is still shaped by undiminished intense competition.
Hannover Re’s shareholders’ equity continues to be robust. At the time of preparing the management report, both the business position of the Group and its financial strength remain good. With this in mind, the Executive Board and Supervisory Board will propose to the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of EUR 5.25 per share should be paid. The distribution consists of an ordinary dividend of EUR 3.75 per share and a special dividend of EUR 1.50 per share.