February 19th, 2010

Week’s Top Stories: Feb 13, 2010 – Feb 19, 2010

Posted at 12:25 PM ET

Catastrophe Bond Market Continues to Improve:  Despite the challenging financial conditions of late 2008 and early 2009, the catastrophe bond market continued to play a critical role for both sponsors and investors over the past 12 months. Throughout the year, as financial markets stabilized generally, catastrophe bond issuance conditions continued to improve. In 2009 USD3.4 billion of risk capital was issued through 18 transactions. In terms of risk capital, this is a 25 percent increase over 2008. After declining over the first two quarters of 2009, total catastrophe bond risk principal outstanding increased from USD12.0 billion at year-end 2008 to USD12.2 billion at year-end 2009, reflecting a particularly strong fourth quarter for issuance.

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Higher Pressure on Cat Risk Under Solvency II, Part I: Standard Formula Approach:  The objective of these articles is to provide, based on a review of CEIOPS’ recent papers, a summary of how non-life cat risks are likely to be quantitatively assessed under Solvency II. (Re)insurers may quantify their individual catastrophe risk charge as part of one of three frameworks: the standard formula; a partial internal model and a full internal model.

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Solvency II - Rationale for the Capital Requirement Increase for Underwriting Risk:   In its series of Consultation Papers on Level 2 implementation Measures for Solvency II, the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (CEIOPS) drafted, in Consultation Paper 71, a new proposal for the calibration of non-life underwriting risk. Additionally, CEIOPS published its final and third set of advice to the European Commission (EC) at the end of January 2010. The purpose of this briefing is to outline the rationale provided by CEIOPS behind the proposed increase in the SCR in respect of non-life underwriting risk. 

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Rates Retreat as Capital Rebounds: Global Reinsurance Renewals at January 1, 2010:   Reinsurance rates for most lines of business decreased at the January 1, 2010 renewal. The Guy Carpenter World Catastrophe Rate on Line (ROL) Index decreased by 6 percent in response to a swift and substantial recovery in the capitalization of the reinsurance sector. The combination of the rally in investment markets, much reduced catastrophe loss activity and recessionary effects on demand resulted in an excess of supply and increased competition. This was reflected in a slow renewal in which many contracts closed very late in the season as buyers sought to gain maximum advantage. The overall movements in pricing have also occurred against a complicated background of exposure adjustments, model revisions, program changes and other market noise. 

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Insurers Show Continued Interest in Casualty Clash Cover: Large insurers continue to seek Casualty Clash coverage. They are motivated by the results of the quantification of their tail risk exposure in Enterprise Risk Management initiatives, maintenance of consistent earnings and minimization of shock loss surprises to analysts. Clash protection also offers protection against higher working layer retentions. In addition, insurers are generally concerned about accumulations (stacking) of net loss exposures across a single or multiple lines of business and/or multiple insureds that may leave the insurer vulnerable to a non-industry loss event of unpredictable magnitude. Insurers are operating in a very competitive environment in many (but not all) of the underlying primary casualty covers covered by clash reinsurances.

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Five Ways to Manage Innovation:  To cut through the claims of innovation in the market, you need to know what you’re looking for. There are plenty of capital models, catastrophe models and Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) practices in the (re)insurance industry, but which are the most valuable innovations? The right choices can protect your capital, help you deploy it optimally and ultimately bolster shareholder value … but faux innovation can slow your growth - or leave you exposed to unexpected risk or still leave you exposed when you thought the gap had been filled.

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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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