March 18th, 2011

Week’s Top Stories: March 12 - 18, 2011

Posted at 9:00 AM ET

Update: 9.0Mw Earthquake Strikes off Northeastern Japan:  A powerful earthquake struck off the coast of northeastern Japan on March 11, causing severe shaking near the epicenter region and triggering a massive tsunami that devastated coastal communities. There are fears the death toll could exceed 10,000 people, according to reports. Widespread property damage has been reported across northern Japan despite the country boasting the strictest building standards in the world and damage at a nuclear facility in Fukushima has prompted fears of serious radioactive leaks. Early estimates issued by AIR Worldwide and EQECAT suggest insured losses could be between USD12 billion and USD35 billion. Both the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) have recently upwardly revised their measurements of the earthquake’s magnitude to 9.0, making it the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since 1900 and the largest in Japan since modern instrumental recordings began 130 years ago.

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Guy Carpenter Publishes New Insurers’ Guide to Succeeding Under Solvency II: Guy Carpenter & Company has released a special report, Succeeding under Solvency II - Pillar One: Capital Requirements. The paper is the first in a series of Guy Carpenter reports analyzing Solvency II and its attendant issues as they are finalized over the next several months.

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CRESTA Zone Updates: Swiss Re and Munich Re, which are responsible for Catastrophe Risk Evaluating and Standardizing Target Accumulations (CRESTA) boundaries, have recently made some major updates to the zones in a number of countries. In the Asia-Pacific region, the CRESTA boundaries for Australia, China, Japan, and New Zealand have undergone significant changes.

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Guy Carpenter Named New Reinsurance Broker for Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility:  Guy Carpenter & Company announced its selection as the new placing broker for the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF). CCRIF is a risk pooling facility for 16 Caribbean governments that is designed to limit the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes and earthquakes.

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Guy Carpenter Wins Enterprise Risk Management Award:  Guy Carpenter & Company has won an award for its thought leadership and innovative research in enterprise risk management (ERM) from the Joint Risk Management Section of the Casualty Actuarial Society, Canadian Institute of Actuaries and Society of Actuaries. Working with research firm Risk Lighthouse LLC, Guy Carpenter accepted the 2011 Award for Practical Risk Management Applications at the 2011 ERM Symposium, held March 14-16 in Chicago.

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And, you may have missed…

Long Tail Liabilities and Reserve Volatility: Dynamic Reserve Model (DRMTM):  The convergence of a variety of pressure points at this time is leading to a set of unique circumstances that present opportunities around business strategy and capital allocations for the insurance industry. Future inflation is one of the pressure points. Inflation and uncertainty about its extent and timing is a function of untested but powerful monetary and fiscal policy actions. In addition to inflation’s potential effect on insurer liability management there is also an impact on the volatility of assets backing the liabilities. A reignition of the kind of severe inflation last seen in the 1970s is most likely not factored into any current insurer management practices for establishing reserves or setting capital levels.

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