NU Online News Service, March 12, 7:25 p.m. — New York

Despite the Sept. 11 attacks, the life reinsurance business continues to benefit from improving mortality trends and increasing cession rates, according to Jacques Dubois, chairman of the Swiss Re America Holding Corp.

Medical research has boosted life expectancy to an average of 76.5 years, Dubois said Wednesday at a conference organized by Swiss Re America’s parent company, Swiss Reinsurance Company Zurich.

Meanwhile, Dubois said, the cession rate ? the percentage of life insurance contracts ceded to reinsurers ? is also increasing.

Dubois estimated the rate was 70% in 2001, up from 15% in 1993 and 64% in 2000.

Ultimately, the cession rate could rise as high as 80%, Dubois predicted.

The dollar value of the business ceded is also increasing.

The amount was at least $4.5 trillion in 2001, up from $4 trillion in 2000 and just $1.1 trillion in 1993, Dubois said.

In related news, Swiss Re Life & Health North America says it has moved its corporate headquarters to Armonk, N.Y., from Stamford, Conn.

The Armonk facility also houses Swiss Re’s Americas Division, the unit that handles property-casualty business for North, Central and South America. The move involved about 200 people.