With 2009 coming to a close, this week we’re taking a look at the most popular stories of the year.
Chart: 2009 H1N1 Swine Flu Lethality Rate 1.98 Percent: As of May 6, 2009, there have been 1,516 cases confirmed globally by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 30 fatalities. Consequently, H1N1 has shown a lethality rate of only 1.98 percent. While any loss of life is tragic, the implications of swine flu have not reached pandemic proportions.
Chart: World ROL Index, Jan 1, 2009: The Guy Carpenter World ROL Index gained 8 percent, after two years of substantial declines. Despite the magnitude of catastrophes and financial losses, the turnaround in pricing was substantially less pronounced than those that followed Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in 2005.
Chart: D&O XOL Reinsurance Rate Changes: While the reinsurance market had minimal increases and new capacity was difficult to find, the situation for primary insurers was much different with respect to capacity. The impairment of a major competitor in 2008 changed the market’s landscape dramatically. Firms in the D&O space pursued numerous opportunities to capitalize on this situation.
Chart: Economic Loss from Natural Disasters: An industry defined by the transformative effects of shock losses changed again with Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma and the 2006 reinsurance renewal - as combined insured losses reached USD60.5 billion. Despite the extent of the damage, these storms did not cause substantial losses of capital, as the rest of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry was highly profitable. The insurance industry as a whole recorded a combined ratio of 100.7 and a rate of return of 10 percent. Further, the reinsurance industry was no longer a closed system — external capital was readily available. More than USD35 billion flowed into the industry through a variety of instruments, including start-ups, catastrophe bonds, and sidecars.
Chart: Lloyd’s Income Statement Summary 2007 — 2008: Lloyd’s reported a pre-tax profit of GBP1.9 billion (USD3.5 billion) for 2008, half the figure of the previous year but still the third best result in the market’s history. This lower profit reflected weakening market conditions, an increase in catastrophe events after a period of unusually low claims, and exceptionally challenging financial conditions.