December 18th, 2008

Australia/New Zealand: Catastrophe Reinsurance Market 2008

Posted at 12:50 AM ET

GC Editor

Jamie Cook, Senior Vice President
Contact

2008 Reinsurance Market Position

Catastrophe program limits continue to be set in accordance with Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) guidelines. Insurers are required to consider a catastrophe event with a return period of 1-in-250 years when calculating their Maximum Event Retentions (MER).

Because of the frequency with which smaller catastrophe losses have fallen within catastrophe program retentions, carriers have seen a renewed focus on managing earnings volatility and moving toward lower attachment points, where reinsurer pricing has been viewed as competitive. The average catastrophe program attachment point on a return period basis is approximately seven years. We have also seen an increased demand in catastrophe aggregate covers.

Despite the relatively high levels of catastrophe limit that are purchased, appetite for Australian and New Zealand catastrophe programs remains high, and reinsurance capacity supply continues to exceed demand. As a result, there has been continued downward pressure on catastrophe program pricing in 2007 and 2008.

The following chart highlights the continuing reduction in average program rate on line (ROL) in Australia and New Zealand, albeit the decline has been tempered to a degree by insurers choosing lower catastrophe retentions and purchasing higher ROL first layers.

The following chart shows how the loadings that reinsurers apply in excess of the expected annual loss have again decreased throughout the catastrophe programs in our survey for 2008.

Recent Merger Activity

In April 2008, QBE approached IAG with a merger proposal through a scheme of arrangement. The proposal was ultimately rejected by the Board of IAG, and QBE withdrew its offer in late May. While this particular merger did not occur, speculation continues that further consolidation within the Australian and New Zealand insurance industry will take place in the near term.

Catastrophe Exposure

With a land area of approximately 7.7 million square kilometres, Australia comprises 5 percent of the world’s total land surface and is the sixth largest country. In addition to being the planet’s smallest continent, Australia is also the lowest, the flattest and, apart from Antarctica, the driest. It has a risk profile that includes earthquake, flood, drought, cyclone, thunderstorm, hail, tidal surge and bushfire.

By contrast New Zealand has a land area of approximately 270,000 square kilometres. Situated on the boundary of the Pacific and Indo-Australian tectonic plates, New Zealand’s North and South Islands are prone to frequent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslips, in addition to storms and flooding.

There were a number of severe weather events in Australia in 2007 and 2008, the largest of which was the Queen’s Birthday weekend storms of June 2007, which according to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), cost insurers approximately AUD1.5 billion (USD1 billion). Storm activity in Queensland in early 2008 caused widespread flood damage, particularly to the region’s mining operations.

New Zealand also witnessed a wide range of storm and flood events, the largest being the storms that affected the Auckland area in July 2007, costing insurers approximately NZD57 million (USD31 million). The largest event to have affected New Zealand in the past 12 months was the magnitude 6.8 earthquake centred near Gisborne, which struck on December 20, 2007. Current commercial and domestic insured losses are estimated at NZD60 million (USD38 million).

Insurance Availability

Private insurance coverage is available for most Australian perils, with the notable exception of subsidence, which is excluded from residential policies. Cover for flood, which according to the ICA accounts for one third of natural hazard damage in Australia, remains limited as a result of both availability and affordability.

In New Zealand, the Earthquake Commission provides cover for homes, residential land, and personal possessions for those who have taken out traditional fire insurance. The perils covered are earthquake, landslips, tsunami, volcanic eruption, hydrothermal activity, storm or flood damage (to land only), and fire following any of these perils.

Recent loss activity in Australia and New Zealand has drawn attention again to the issues of under-insurance and non-insurance. Industry bodies in both countries continue to promote public awareness campaigns highlighting the benefits of insurance, as well as lobbying their respective governments on the need for tax reform on insurance products. Inefficient taxes such as the Fire Services Levy have been identified as key barriers that prevent individuals from taking out insurance.

Following the Queen’s Birthday weekend storms of June 7, 2007 to June 10, 2007, Guy Carpenter produced a report focusing on the complex phenomena of East Coast Lows, intense low-pressure systems that can occur several times each year off the southeast Australian coast. We were also able to provide detailed analysis of the distribution of claims using i-aXs®, which in Australia and New Zealand now incorporates all major catastrophe perils. A pilot feasibility study has been completed and full production is now planned for a national bushfire accumulation assessment risk map for Australia hosted in i-aXs.

See all World Catastrophe Country Reports >>

Subscribe to GC Capital Ideas e-mail alerts >>

Additional contributor:

  • Peter Cheesman, Senior Vice President
Category: property

Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC Terms and Conditions of Use

PLEASE READ THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE (“TERMS”) BEFORE USING THIS SITE.

By continuing to access or use this site, or any service on this site, you signify your acceptance of the TERMS. From time to time, Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC (“Guy Carpenter”) may modify the TERMS. Accordingly, please continue to review the TERMS whenever accessing or using this site. Your use of this site, or any service on the site, after the posting of modifications to the TERMS will constitute your acceptance of the TERMS, as modified. If, at any time, you do not wish to accept the TERMS, you may not use the site. Any terms or conditions proposed by you that are in addition to or which conflict with the TERMS are expressly rejected by Guy Carpenter and shall be of no force or effect.

1. User Assent to Terms and Conditions of Service

You represent that you have read and agree to be bound by the TERMS for GCCapitalIdeas.com. You further agree: (i) to comply with U.S. law regarding the transmission of any data obtained from the Service (as defined herein) in accordance with the TERMS; (ii) not to use the Service for illegal purposes; and (iii) not to interfere or disrupt networks connected to the Service.

2. Disclaimer

All content provided on this Web site is based upon information which we believe to be reliable and should be understood to be general insurance information only. It is not intended to be taken as advice with respect to any individual situation and cannot be relied upon as such. Consult your reinsurance/insurance advisors with respect to individual coverage issues.

Guy Carpenter makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, with respect to the accuracy or reliability of the content contained on this Web site. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any historical, current or forward-looking statements. Guy Carpenter undertakes no obligation to update or revise publicly any historical, current or forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, research, future events or otherwise.

Statements concerning, tax, accounting, legal or regulatory matters should be understood to be general observations based solely on our experience as reinsurance brokers and risk consultants, and may not be relied upon as tax, accounting, legal or regulatory advice which we are not authorized to provide. All such matters should be reviewed with your own qualified advisors in these areas.

3. Intellectual Property

This Web site, including, but not limited to, text, content, photographs, video, audio, and graphics (the “Service”), is protected by copyrights, trademarks, service marks, international treaties and/or other proprietary rights and laws of the U.S. and other countries. The Service is also protected as a collective work or compilation under U.S. copyright and other laws and treaties. All individual articles, columns and other elements making up the Service are also copyrighted works. You agree to abide by all applicable copyright and other laws, as well as any additional copyright notices or restrictions contained in the Service.

4. Restrictions on Use

You may not use the Service for any illegal purpose or in any manner inconsistent with the TERMS. You agree to use the Service solely for the use and benefit of your own organization, and not for resale or other transfer to, or use by or for the benefit of, any other person or entity. You agree not to use, transfer, distribute or dispose of any information contained in the Service in any manner that could compete with the business of Guy Carpenter. You acknowledge that the Service has been developed, compiled, prepared, revised, selected and arranged by Guy Carpenter and others (including certain other information sources) through the application of methods and standards of judgment developed and applied through the expenditure of substantial time, effort and money and constitutes valuable intellectual property and trade secrets of Guy Carpenter and such others. You agree to protect the proprietary rights of Guy Carpenter and all others having rights in the Service during and after the term of this agreement and to comply with all reasonable written requests made by Guy Carpenter or its suppliers of content, equipment or otherwise (“Suppliers”) to protect their and others’ contractual, statutory and common law rights in the Service. You agree to notify Guy Carpenter in writing promptly upon becoming aware of any unauthorized access or use of the Service by any party or of any claim that the Service infringes upon any copyright, trademark or other contractual, statutory or common law rights.

5. Further Restrictions on Use

You may not copy, reproduce, recompile, decompile, disassemble, reverse engineer, distribute, publish, display, perform, modify, upload to, create derivative works from, transmit or in any way exploit any part of the Service, except that you may download material from the Service and/or make print copies for use within your organization, provided that all copies retain all copyright and other proprietary notices. The analysis and presentation included in the Service may not be recirculated, redistributed or published by you without Guy Carpenter’s prior written consent. Modification of the Service’s content would be a violation of Guy Carpenter’s copyright and other proprietary rights. Additionally, you may not offer any part of the Service for sale or distribute it over any other medium including but not limited to over-the-air television or radio broadcast, a computer network or hyperlink framing on the internet without the prior written consent of Guy Carpenter. The Service and the information contained therein may not be used to construct a database of any kind. Nor may the Service be stored (in its entirety or in any part) in databases for access by you or any third party or to distribute any database services containing all or part of the Service. You may not use the Service in any way to improve the quality of any data sold or contributed by you to any third party. Furthermore, you may not use any of Guy Carpenter’s names or marks in any manner that creates the impression such names or marks belong to or are associated with you or imply any endorsement by Guy Carpenter, and you acknowledge that you have no ownership rights in and to any of these names or marks. You will not use the Service, the information contained therein or any of Guy Carpenter’s names or marks in unsolicited mailings or spam material and will not spam or send unsolicited mailings to any person or entity using the Service.

6. License

You acquire no rights or licenses in or to the Service and materials contained therein other than the limited right to utilize the Service in accordance with the TERMS.

7. Rights Reserved

All present and future rights in and to trade secrets, patents, copyrights, trade names, trademarks, service marks, databases, know-how and other proprietary rights of any type under the laws of any governmental authority, domestic or foreign, including rights in and to all applications and registrations relating to the Service (the “IP Rights”) shall, as between you and Guy Carpenter, at all times be and remain the sole and exclusive property of Guy Carpenter. All present and future rights in and title to the Service (including the right to exploit the Service and any portions of the Service over any present or future technology) are reserved to Guy Carpenter.

8. Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

You agree that your use of the Service is at your sole risk and acknowledge that the Service and anything contained therein, including, but not limited to, content, services, goods or advertisements (the “Items”) are provided “AS IS” and that Guy Carpenter makes no warranty of any kind, express or implied, as to the Items, including, but not limited to, merchantability, noninfringement, title or fitness for a particular purpose or use. Guy Carpenter does not warrant that the Service is compatible with your equipment or is free of errors or viruses, worms or “Trojan horses” and is not liable for any damage you may suffer as a result of such destructive features. You agree that Guy Carpenter, its Suppliers and its third-party agents shall have no responsibility or liability for: (i) any injury or damages, whether caused by the negligence of Guy Carpenter, its employees, subcontractors, agents, Suppliers or otherwise arising in connection with the Service; or (ii) any fault, inaccuracy, omission, delay or any other failure in the Service caused by your computer equipment or arising from your use of the Service on such equipment. The content of other Web sites, services, goods or advertisements that may be linked to the Service is not maintained or controlled by Guy Carpenter. Guy Carpenter is therefore not responsible for the availability, content or accuracy of other Web sites, services or goods that may be linked to, or advertised on, the Service. Guy Carpenter does not: (a) make any warranty, express or implied, with respect to the use of the links provided on, or to, the Service; (b) guarantee the accuracy, completeness, usefulness or adequacy of any other Web sites, services, goods or advertisements that may be linked to the Service; or (c) make any endorsement, express or implied, of any other Web sites, services, goods or advertisements that may be linked to the Service. Guy Carpenter is also not responsible for the reliability or continued availability of the telephone lines and equipment you use to access the Service. You understand that Guy Carpenter and/or third-party contributors to the Service may choose at any time to inhibit or prohibit their content from being accessed under the TERMS.

9. Limitation of Liability

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL GUY CARPENTER, ITS SUPPLIERS OR ITS THIRD-PARTY AGENTS BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY THIRD PARTY FOR DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES EVEN IF AN AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE OF GUY CARPENTER HAS BEEN ADVISED SPECIFICALLY OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, ARISING FROM USE OF OR INABILITY TO USE THE SERVICE OR ANY LINKS OR ITEMS ON THE SERVICE OR ANY PROVISION OF THE TERMS, SUCH AS, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, LOSS OF REVENUE OR ANTICIPATED PROFITS OR LOST BUSINESS. (Applicable law may not allow the limitation or exclusion of liability or incidental or consequential damages.)

10. Representations and Warranties

You represent, warrant and covenant that you: (i) have the power and authority to enter into this agreement; (ii) are at least eighteen (18) years old; (iii) shall not use any rights granted hereunder for any unlawful purpose; and (iv) shall use the Service only as set forth in these TERMS.

11. Indemnification

You agree, at your own expense, to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Guy Carpenter and its employees, representatives, Suppliers and agents, against any claim, suit, action or other proceeding, to the extent based on or arising in connection with your use of the Service, or any links on the Service, including, but not limited to: (i) your use or someone using your computer’s use of the Service; (ii) a violation of the TERMS by you or anyone using your computer; (iii) a claim that any use of the Service by you or someone using your computer infringes any IP Right (as herein defined) of any third party, or any right of personality or publicity, is libelous or defamatory, or otherwise results in injury or damage to any third party; (iv) any deletions, additions, insertions or alterations to, or any unauthorized use of, the Service by you or someone using your computer; or (v) any misrepresentation or breach of representation, warranty or covenant made by you contained herein. You agree to pay any and all costs, damages and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) and costs awarded against or incurred by or in connection with or arising from any such claim, suit, action or proceeding.

12. Termination

Either you or Guy Carpenter may terminate this agreement with or without cause at any time and effective immediately. You may terminate by discontinuing use of the Service and destroying all materials obtained from the Service. This agreement will terminate immediately without notice from Guy Carpenter if Guy Carpenter determines, in its sole discretion, that you have failed to comply with any provision of these TERMS. Upon termination by you or upon notice of termination by Guy Carpenter , you must promptly destroy all materials obtained from the Service and any copies thereof. Sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, and 13 shall survive any termination of this agreement.

13. Governing Law

These TERMS shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of the United States of America and the State of New York, without giving effect to conflicts-of-law principles thereof. You agree to submit to the personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in New York County with respect to any legal proceedings arising out of this agreement and waive any objection to the propriety or convenience of venue in such courts. If any provision of the TERMS is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unenforceable, such provision shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible and the other provisions of the TERMS shall remain in full force and effect.

14. Access Outside the United States

If you choose to access the Service from outside the United States, you are responsible for compliance with foreign and local laws. Software from the Service may be subject to United States export controls that prohibit downloading, exportation or re-exportation: (i) into (or to a national or resident of) Cuba, Iraq, Libya, Iran, Syria, Sudan, or any other country to which the U.S. has embargoed goods; or (ii) to anyone on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Table of Deny Orders. By using the Service, you represent and warrant that you are not located in, controlled by or a national or resident of any such country or on any such list.

15. Miscellaneous

You acknowledge that Guy Carpenter has the right to change the content or technical specifications of any aspect of the Service at any time at Guy Carpenter’s sole discretion. You further accept that such changes may result in your being unable to access the Service.

16. Official Correspondence

Official Correspondence must be sent via postal mail to: Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC, 1166 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, Attn: Legal Department.