July 31st, 2009

Week’s Top Stories: July 25 - 31, 2009

Posted at 1:00 AM ET

Cat Bond Second Quarter 2009*: The catastrophe bond market continues to advance, though issuances are down from 2008. The activity represents a positive rally from the hiatus during the second half of 2008. For the first half of 2009, nine bonds have been issued, with aggregate risk capital of USD1.38 billion. The continuing stabilization of financial markets and a decrease in catastrophe bond spreads, however, could result in more issuance activity in the second half of the year, particularly for sponsors which had considered issuances in the first and second quarters but deferred their plans because catastrophe bond spreads were considered to be too wide (i.e., catastrophe bond protection was considered to be too expensive).

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GC Podcast 01 — July 1 Renewals (Chris Klein): Guy Carpenter Global Head of Business Intelligence Christopher Klein discusses the July 1, 2009 reinsurance renewal in this new GC Capital Ideas podcast. Click the audio player below to listen to the interview, or download the interview in a file that will work with your iPod.

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GC LiveCat Turns Last-Minute Decisions into a Competitive Advantages: A hurricane is headed toward a coastal urban center, bringing with it the likelihood of outsized insured losses. The storm is heading into Galveston, Texas. The risk manager, tracking the situation, is concerned that the storm could strike a heavily exposed region. At this point, one of three situations could occur: (1) the storm does not make landfall, (2) the storm does make landfall, causing much more damage than expected, or (3) the storm makes landfall, but the risk manager has laid off some of the risk using livecat cover. 

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Prop-Cat Reinsurance Rate Increases Steady at July 1 Renewal: Property-catastrophe reinsurance rate increases were steady at the July 1, 2009 renewal. In the United States and Latin America, capacity was sufficient to meet demand. U.S. property-catastrophe reinsurance rates increased 15 percent year-over-year, in line with the trend from January to June. In Latin America, preliminary data varied by country, but upward pressure on pricing was offset by supply and local market competition to keep reinsurance rate increases contained. For the marine sector, rates were up 5 percent to 10 percent, based mostly on loss history and catastrophe exposure. With four major renewal periods covered this year, a sense of calm has emerged. The general reinsurance market is tepid, with a few hotspots based on region- or program-specific factors.

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Five Ways to Make Your Capital More Productive: The financial catastrophe may be almost a year behind us, but we’re still dealing with the effects. Capital remains constrained, and it will be a while before balance sheets return to early 2008 levels. (Re)insurers have had to learn to do more with less — deploying limited capital in a way that maximizes earnings and reaches challenging return on equity (ROE) targets. With MetaRisk®, Guy Carpenter’s economic capital model, you can delve into the scenarios that could mean the difference between capital productivity and missed opportunity.

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Severe Weather in Central and Eastern Europe: Severe weather hit central and eastern Europe on July, 23, 2009 and July 24, 2009, as powerful winds ripped roofs off buildings and large hail caused severe damage. Reports said the storms left a trail of destruction in Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Germany. Wind gusts reached 130 kmph (80 mph) in some areas, downing trees and power lines, according to officials. The strong winds, combined with heavy rain and large hail, cut power to at least 150,000 households and killed eleven people (eight in Poland, two in the Czech Republic, and one in Germany). According to Poland’s IMiGW state weather service, the storms were caused when hot air masses from North Africa clashed with cooler air systems from western Europe.

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* 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.

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