Swiss Re , the world's second-biggest reinsurer, said reinsurance prices were rising overall, lifting its shares nearly 3 percent.

The reinsurer also said on Monday it was well positioned for the January 2010 renewals season.

However, pricing was improving at a faster pace in property than in casualty, prompting the Zurich-based reinsurer to move capacity into the property line of business, Michel Lies, Head of Client Markets, said in a statement ahead of the annual meeting of the reinsurance industry in Monte Carlo.

We are observing a broad upward trend in overall reinsurance pricing, although this varies significantly between different lines of business, Lies said.

Kepler analyst Fabrizio Croce said first indications from the conference were comforting.

The broad upward trend in overall reinsurance pricing -- although this varies significantly between lines of business -- is unexpected good news, he said in a note.

Swiss Re shares rose some 2.8 percent to 46.48 Swiss francs by 0737, outperforming a 1.2 percent rise in the DJ European insurance index <.SXIP> and a 0.5 percent dip in shares of main rival Munich Re.


Swiss Re's Lies said while prices on property lines of business are improving, long-tail industry segments, especially casualty, had yet to adjust to the lower interest rate environment and still did not adequately reflect years of premium reductions, and anticipated loss trends.

We therefore continue to steer capacity away from casualty into the more profitable property lines of business, he said.

Reinsurers have been unable to push through the radically higher prices they promised last year for the risk cover they sell to their insurance company clients.

Reinsurance experts gathered in the Mediterranean resort of Monaco to discuss prices and conditions for renewing reinsurance contracts in 2010, have been arguing over whether pricing will increase slightly, stay flat or even fall.

Lies added that, in spite of the economic crisis, the resilience of the property and casualty industry segment helped Swiss Re deliver capacity to its client.

This has created a lot of goodwill and positioned us well for the upcoming January 2010 renewals, he said.

Industry players had expected demand to surge in the wake of the financial crisis, as insurance companies sought to use reinsurance to protect their balance sheets as an alternative to raising fresh capital in volatile financial markets.

The effect was not as strong as reinsurers expected, however, and the recession has depressed insurance sales worldwide.

Industry leader Munich Re said on Sunday markets remained favorable for some types of reinsurance, but the recession was pressuring insurer spending on risk cover.

(Writing by Lisa Jucca, Sven Egenter and Jason Rhodes; Editing by Simon Jessop)