World life reinsurance gross premium revenue may have fallen in 2009, but world life reinsurance net premium revenue may have increased.

The International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), Basel, Switzerland, has published world life reinsurance market statistics in a year-end review of the reinsurance market.

The reinsurers that participated in an IAIS survey said their gross life reinsurance premiums fell to $52 billion in 2009, down 9% from the 2008 total.

Net life reinsurance premiums increased 22%, in part because “retrocession,” or spreading of reinsurance risk to other entities, fell 46%.

Life reinsurance accounted for about one-third of overall gross premiums in 2009, but life’s share of overall world reinsurance net premiums increased to 29% in 2009, from 26% in 2008, officials say.

Reinsurers as a group “proved profitable in 2009, benefiting from both sound management of asset portfolios and diversification of insurance risks, as well as from a moderate catastrophe year,” IAIS officials say. “Far from creating systemic concerns to financial markets, reinsurers have contributed positively to financial stability.”