German reinsurer Munich Re expects a lower profit in 2017 as prices remain weak and it invests in technology. The world's largest reinsurer said it expects net income between €2bn and €2.4bn this year, compared with €2.6bn in 2016. Reinsurance prices have been falling for several years due to increasing competition in the sector and a lack of natural catastrophes in developed markets, which typically push up demand. Chief Executive Nikolaus von Bomhard said, "We haven't seen the bottom yet. We believe that we will have reached the bottom soon." Insurers and reinsurers have also been looking at ways to streamline their business in areas such as automation of claims processing. They fear disruption in the industry from a new breed of insurtech companies or from technology and social media giants such as Amazon or Facebook. Munich Re and others such as AXA and Aviva are investing in start-up insurtech companies. Changes in technology will require Munich Re to set up partnerships that would previously not have been considered. RBC analysts described the profit guidance as highly conservative, reiterating their buy rating on the stock. The company also said it would buy back up to €1bn of its own shares by April 2018, following similar buyback arrangements in 2015 and 2016. The buyback of up to 11 million shares would be equivalent to 3.5% of its share capital based on the current price, Munich Re said.