1. Rates up on Tightening Capacity at U.S. 4/1 Prop-Cat Renewal: Reinsurance rates continued to increase for the U.S. property-catastrophe reinsurance market at the April 1, 2009 renewal, extending the trend that began at the beginning of the year. National programs were up 10 percent to 14 percent on a risk-adjusted basis, with those in the Northeast seeing 6 percent to 8 percent increases. This compares to a reinsurance rate increase of 11 percent on average at the January 1, 2009 renewal.
2. Cat Bond Update: First Quarter 2009*: A strong first quarter has demonstrated that catastrophe bonds are still important tools for risk managers, treasurers, and CFOs. After five months of silence since the last issuance in mid-August 2008, three bonds closed in the first quarter of 2009 bringing USD575 million in fresh capital and confirmation that these instruments are still attractive investments, despite the ongoing the global financial catastrophe. Investor marketing for a fourth catastrophe bond issuance began in the first quarter but is expected close in the early part of the second quarter. Issuance levels are consistent with the first quarter of 2008, a year that seemed likely to be the second-busiest in the history of the catastrophe bond market until the financial crisis accelerated in the fourth quarter of last year.
3. Where Are We on Solvency II?: Solvency II will require insurers and reinsurers domiciled in the European Economic Area (EEA) to assess their regulatory capital requirements within a forward-looking risk sensitive framework. Solvency II has reached a decisive point in its development, as the focus moves to how the directive will be implemented in practice and how it will shape the competitive landscape of the insurance industry. From a quantitative perspective, the results of the Quantitative Impact Study 4 (QIS 4) were published by the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (CEIOPS) in November 2008. From a political perspective, the group support concept was abandoned to avoid further jeopardizing the targeted implementation by 2012.
4. Risk Profile, Appetite and Tolerance: Fundamental Concepts in Risk Management and Reinsurance Effectiveness: Prior to the recent turbulence in the financial markets, insurers and reinsurers were increasing their use of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) to make risk and capital management decisions. While this was driven in part by rating agencies and regulators, many carriers began to recognize the value of metric-based frameworks and capital models in evaluating their portfolios.
5. Florida Renewal up 15%, Follows the Global Trend: Property-catastrophe reinsurance rates increased by 15 percent at the Florida-centric June 1, 2009 renewal — compared to a 15 percent decline a year ago. Capacity was more limited than in recent years — however, still adequate to complete renewals. Though the ultimate result was higher than the 10 percent to 14 percent change for U.S. national reinsurers at April 1, 2009, the intricacies of the Florida market render it directionally consistent with the overall rate trend for this year. Constraints on capital have pushed risk-transfer pricing higher, but shortages were not so severe that rates spiked as they did in 2006.
6. Lloyd’s 2008 Results — Resilience in a Tough Market: Lloyd’s of London (”Lloyd’s”) competitive position strengthened in 2008, largely because of effective risk management oversight and relatively conservative investment allocation. The capital structure has proved resilient in the face of the worldwide financial catastrophe and financial strength ratings remain strong and stable. As a result, Lloyd’s is well-positioned to benefit from current market dislocation.
7. Cat Risk in a Solvency II Environment: Many approaches exist for use in assessing catastrophe risks. Under Quantitative Impact Study 4 (QIS4), the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (CEIOPS) provided a list of those that can be used for Solvency II compliance and, in the interim, managing risk and capital effectively. The full stochastic modeling of catastrophe risk using an internal model, such as Guy Carpenter’s G-Cat® tools and MetaRisk®, provides the most information.
8. Casualty Cat Part I: Casualty Catastrophe Risk Modeling: Casualty catastrophes have become increasingly frequent and severe over the past decade, exposing (re)insurers to much more risk than they may realize. One root cause can trigger a chain reaction that can bleed balance sheets and even imperil solvency. Until recently, casualty carriers had little choice but to accept this risk. The maturation of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) practice and the development of new casualty-specific catastrophe models, though, signal a change. The more complex the casualty risks and regulations carriers face, the more they are recognizing that improving their ERM practices could yield competitive advantage. Now, it is possible to make the accumulation of casualty risks both knowable and manageable. As casualty catastrophes become more common, carriers will be able to take informed action to protect their capital.
9. CRESTA Zone Updates: Swiss Re and Munich Re, which are responsible for Catastrophe Risk Evaluating and Standardising Target Accumulations (CRESTA1) boundaries, have recently made some major updates to the zones in a number of countries. In the Asia-Pacific region, the CRESTA boundaries for Australia, China, Japan, and New Zealand have undergone significant changes.
10. Bermuda Capital Constrained but Sufficient: Like the rest of the world, the Guy Carpenter Bermuda Composite has suffered a drastic financial change from the share buybacks and dividend payments that were common a year ago. Excess capital has become merely sufficient, and the goal of a 15 percent return on equity (ROE) seems ever more distant, as the five-year rolling average for the composite fell to 8.7 percent. Nonetheless, disciplined risk management cannot be ignored, and a strong underwriting performance has created a platform for future profitability.
* Securities or investments, as applicable, are offered in the United States through GC Securities, a division of MMC Securities Corp., a US registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC. Main Office: 1166 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036. Phone: (212) 345-5000. Securities or investments, as applicable, are offered in the European Union by GC Securities, a division of MMC Securities (Europe) Ltd., which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Reinsurance products are placed through qualified affiliates of Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC. MMC Securities Corp., MMC Securities (Europe) Ltd. and Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC are affiliates owned by Marsh & McLennan Companies. This communication is not intended as an offer to sell or a solicitation of any offer to buy any security, financial instrument, reinsurance or insurance product.