Catastrophe reinsurance rates fell 7.5 percent to 10 percent at the January 1, 2011 reinsurance renewal in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. This represents a slight acceleration from the 5 percent decline a year ago. Per risk working layer and high-risk excess program rates were down 5 percent to 7.5 percent for loss-free layers. Capacity was both ample and consistent with some reinsurers increasing capacity to meet cedent demand.
The primary insurance market in Belgium saw increases in residential fire insurance as a result of losses from Windstorm Xynthia, the July storms and flooding in November. Losses have also led to rate increases for motor insurance in Belgium and the Netherlands in 2010. In the coming year, merger and acquisition momentum from 2009 and 2010 is likely to continue.
Loss events this past year did not have a significant effect on reinsurers, with the November flooding the only noteworthy event. Likewise, there were no significant changes to reinsurance structures. Capacity was both ample and consistent year over year, with some reinsurers increasing capacity to address cedent demand.