Brazil's government-controlled former reinsurance monopoly holder, IRB-Brasil Re, reports that it saw profits rise 2.6% in 2009 despite lower revenue from premiums.

Despite the IRB's premiums falling 8.8% to US$ 1.6 billion last year, and its investment income plummeting 51% to US$ 181 million, its profits reportedly increased to US$ 297 million. The company's market share dropped from close to 100% to around 80% at the end of 2009 as new entrants gained strength at IRB's expense in the first full year since the industry opened to competition in April 2008.

IRB stated that its higher profits are attributable to careful underwriting and increasing use of proportional reinsurance.