1. 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.
2. 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 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.
3. 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.
4. Guy Carpenter Examines Excess Capital Strategies At Monte Carlo Reinsurance Rendez-vous: Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC, the leading global risk and reinsurance specialist, hosted its third annual press briefing on September 11 at the Reinsurance Rendez-vous 2010 in Monte Carlo. During the briefing Henry Keeling, President and CEO of Guy Carpenter’s International Operations, led a panel discussion on key industry issues, including determining the best use of excess capital in today’s marketplace.
5. 2009 Catastrophe Update: Global Insured Losses in 2009: 2009 has seen an impressive recovery from last year’s financial crisis and the uncertainty caused by losses from Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike. This recovery has been driven by the easing of financial markets and low catastrophe activity. A very quiet hurricane season, coupled with relatively low losses for other weather-related events, meant insured losses reached USD24 billion in 2009, the lowest figure since 2006 and a significant fall from USD52.5 billion in 2008.
6. Reinsurance Renewal July 1, 2010: Capital Cushion Continues to Impact Pricing: Further erosion of rates was evident at the July 1, 2010 reinsurance renewal. Property rates were down by as much 15 percent despite substantial catastrophe loss activity in the first half of 2010. Heavy losses from the Chilean earthquake were insufficient to turn prices outside the areas immediately affected by the earthquake, despite the announcement of large increases in estimates from the largest European reinsurers. In the energy and casualty sectors, conditions were flat or down, but the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster may exert upwards pressure as more information emerges. Excess capital remains available to absorb losses as evidenced by continuing share buy-backs and the substitution of equity capital with less expensive debt.
7. World Catastrophe Reinsurance Market: 2010 has been a difficult year for the reinsurance industry after it suffered one of the most costly first halves on record. Spiraling costs from disasters such as the Chilean earthquake and the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico meant (re)insurers’ catastrophe budgets took a severe hit even before the hurricane season had started. Although insured losses reached USD23 billion in the first six months and an active hurricane season has been forecast, reinsurance rates generally declined through the 2010 renewals as surplus capital drove down prices.
8. Catastrophe Bond Update: Second Quarter 2010 - Activity Surges…Reflecting Favorable Issuance Conditions and Strong Investor Demand: In the second quarter of 2010, eight catastrophe bond transactions were completed, and USD2.05 billion of risk capital was issued. making it the second most active second quarter on record. USD1.70 billion of this total (and all but one transaction) included exposure to U.S. wind as sponsors and investors focused on this peril, leading into what is expected to be an active North Atlantic hurricane season.
9. Indexation Clauses in Liability Reinsurance Treaties: A Comparison Across Europe: The Indexation Clause - otherwise referred to as the Stability Clause, Inflation Clause, or Severe Inflation Clause - is designed to maintain the real monetary value of the retention and (where applicable) the limit under a long-tail excess of loss (XOL) reinsurance treaty over the duration of the claims payout pattern. The clause is only relevant to losses that are of a long-tail nature (i.e., that take a long time to become paid) and is commonly found in the terms and conditions of Motor Liability, General Liability and Professional Liability TPL XOL reinsurance contracts of European cedents.
10. April 1 Reinsurance Renewals: Rates Lower; Returns Under Pressure: The April 1, 2010 reinsurance renewals are dominated by Asia, but were conducted with one eye on the catastrophes that occurred elsewhere in the world. Reinsurance rates in most cases continued the decline experienced at January 1, 2010 which occurred largely because of the effects of healthier (re)insurer balance sheets. The large earthquake in Chile, and, to a lesser extent, windstorm Xynthia in Europe, both striking in the first quarter of 2010, caused pause for thought. There are several significant renewals at April 1 in the US, which did not show signs of any impact from the recent global loss activity. There was some evidence of price tightening in parts of Latin America. The Chile situation remains uncertain and earthquake losses generally develop more slowly than wind events. Up to half of catastrophe loss ratio budgets were consumed, causing reduced headroom for a larger catastrophe later in the year. This scenario, along with buoyant balance sheets, lower investment yields and thinner reserve releases will put pressure on returns, sustaining active capital management and perhaps, in time, stabilizing the market.