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Reinsurers Axis Capital, PartnerRe to merge in $11 billion deal

Axis Capital Holdings and PartnerRe have agreed to an $11 billion merger to create one of the world's largest reinsurers, PartnerRe said.

The move is the latest indication that fierce competition and falling premiums in the reinsurance sector has led market players to consolidate. Reinsurers help insurers pay large damage claims in exchange for part of the profit.

The combined company will have gross premiums topping $10 billion, total capitalization of more than $14 billion, and total cash and invested assets of more than $33 billion, according to the PartnerRe statement.

PartnerRe shareholders will own 51.6 percent of the new company, and Axis holders, 48.4 percent, according to the statement.

Net income at the top 31 reinsurers rose to $14 billion in the first six months of 2014, up 12 percent from the same period the prior year.