April 16th, 2010

Week’s Top Stories: Apr 10 - 16, 2010

Posted at 9:00 AM ET

Catastrophe Bond Update: First Quarter 2010: Heavy Smoke, Some Fire: Encouraging Conditions Persist*:    In the first quarter of 2010, two catastrophe bond transactions were completed, and USD300 million of risk capital was issued. In response to strong investor demand, both transactions closed within initial price guidance and were upsized relative to announced placement targets. While this activity furthers the integration of the capital markets into the risk management processes of protection buyers, on balance, issuance volumes for the quarter were perhaps a bit lighter than expected at the close of 2009.

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Chart: Insurance Linked Securities Issuance, by Peril, 1997 Through April 1, 2010*:    On a standalone basis, the two most frequently securitized perils are U.S. hurricane USD (7.08 billion) and U.S. earthquake (USD 4.71 billion). Other perils securitized on a standalone basis include European windstorm, Japanese earthquake and, to a lesser extent, Japanese typhoon. Multi-peril transactions, in which the same dollar of risk principal is exposed to at least two or more perils accounts for 42 percent of total risk principal issued. Insurance linked securities (ILS) investors typically prefer single-peril / single-zone transactions as they provide greater ability to construct granular portfolios according to each investor’s risk preferences. ILS sponsors however, particularly large national and global writers with aggregate concerns across multiple perils and geographic zones, often prefer to economize risk transfer spend by applying a single limit across different non-correlated perils, for example U.S. hurricane and earthquake.

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Solvency II in Depth:      Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC sponsored this extended roundtable discussion that considered the progress made by (re)insurance as the Solvency II regime approaches. Held in London, it was attended by a number of UK and continental Europe industry leaders, including Guy Carpenter Managing Director and European Solutions Group Leader Eric Paire. We present the text of the roundtable discussion here as it appeared in Reinsurance Magazine.

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Reserve Risk and Future Inflation:      The last bout of serious inflation in the United States occurred in the late 1970s. In casualty insurance, high inflation coincided with deteriorating reserves and underwriting results. Many believe that the risk of future inflation is higher than it has been in many years. If rising inflation levels impact settlement of claims that are open or are currently unreported, then increased inflation risk leads to increased reserve risk.

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Reserve Uncertainty Interferes with Raising Capital:      Guy Carpenter’s Firm-Value Risk Modeling (FVRM) approach, described in two previous GCCapitalIdeas.com articles, takes Dynamic Financial Analysis (DFA) a step beyond existing techniques by modeling the impact of risk on the shareholder value of the (re)insurer. This puts the two dimensions of DFA - risk and reward - on the same scale: value. The output of an FVRM analysis is the M-curve, that relates the (re)insurer’s book value (surplus) to its market (shareholder) value. When the (re)insurer is in financial distress, with insufficient surplus to cover its risks adequately, its market value reflects the possibility of imminent liquidation, and will typically be not much greater than book value. On the other hand, when the (re)insurer holds a generous capital buffer, its market value reflects a going-concern potential to generate a stream of profits and dividends, and will include some franchise value above and beyond its book value. There is a point, however, where the (re)insurer has so much capital that adding more does nothing to enhance its franchise value.

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Most Popular Keyword:   risk management and firm value

And, you may have missed…

A Survey of Capital Allocation Metrics: Illustration:   To understand the differences in proportional capital allocation methods, it helps to have a reference point. Consider a simple hypothetical insurer that writes auto, general liability, workers’ compensation and property business. The loss distributions are a bit exaggerated to highlight some of the differences among metrics. A profile of the company’s business is shown in Figure 1.

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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, Inc. 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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