January 28th, 2011

Week’s Top Stories: Jan. 22 - Jan. 28, 2011

Posted at 10:00 AM ET

Global Reinsurance Outlook: Points of Inflection, Positioning for Change in a Challenging Market: Executive Summary: Early predictions that January 1, 2011 reinsurance renewal rates were likely to fall have been proven correct.

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2011 Reinsurance Renewal Rates: Property Retrocession:  At the time of writing, this year’s retrocession renewal season is heading to a late close. Early indicators point to a pricing environment of flat to minus 10 percent off rate for loss-free cat retro and cat on direct and facultative programs. There has been significant international catastrophe loss activity in 2010; estimates for these losses are being steadily revised upwards, which has resulted in some lower layers and aggregate covers being hit twice. The impact of New Zealand and Chile earthquakes on programs has sometimes, but not always, led to some price and attachment adjustment. Markets were relieved to be spared the potential losses that could have arisen from the US windstorm activity many predicted.

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2011 Reinsurance Renewal Rates: Overview: An overview of reinsurance rates reveals a picture of a generally softening market on an overall basis, with ample reinsurer capacity available for most lines. But beneath this generality lies a range of experiences for individual reinsurance buyers, according to the class of business, their own loss record and the territorial scope. In many cases, reinsurance purchasing strategies in a softening market were one of the few places buyers could turn to mitigate the effect of soft conditions in original markets.

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2011 Reinsurance Renewal Rates: Asia/Pacific: In Australia and New Zealand, reinsurance rates trended up slightly for loss-free programs, with those affected by losses sustaining higher increases. Few programs avoided losses, given a busy catastrophe year for the region. Those that did remain loss free saw risk-adjusted reinsurance rate increases of 3 percent to 5 percent at the January 1, 2011 renewal, while those with losses experienced increases of 10 percent to 15 percent on a program-wide basis. Specific layers affected had even higher rate changes. Per risk working layers and high risk excess programs were generally flat.

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2011 Reinsurance Renewal Rates: US Casualty, Auto & General Liability, Casualty Clash and Umbrella & Excess:   The casualty reinsurance market continues to be concerned about the level of primary market pricing, with that impact being felt most strongly in proportional treaties where some ceding commissions are being reduced. Reinsurance pricing is averaging flat to down by 5 percent.

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And, you may have missed…

Uncover and Mitigate Product Liability Risk: Avert a Casualty Catastrophe: Danger routinely enters product supply chains. An error at a plant or even a flawed product design could lead to extensive economic damage. While the direct cost of these events comes to mind first, few grasp the full extent of product liability insurance exposure. The integrated business relationships required to bring a product to market mean that one event could trigger a “casualty catastrophe” that sweeps up component manufacturers and distributors - and their insurers.

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