June 17th, 2011

Week’s Top Stories: June 11 - 17, 2011

Posted at 11:00 AM ET

Oliver Wyman Report: Time for a check-up: Capital Model Validation in P&C (Re)insurance: Capital models used in P&C insurance and reinsurance have become increasingly mission-critical to risk and business management. In recent years, regulators and rating agencies have heightened standards for these models dramatically, with an urgency magnified by turmoil in the financial markets. Today, however, insurers with effective models are able to capture competitive advantage with greater capital flexibility, lower cost of capital, and ultimately, stronger and more stable earnings.

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A.M. Best Updates Its Comments on Catastrophe Models: During a recent webinar, a panel convened by A.M. Best reviewed catastrophe models and addressed questions that arose as a result of the new RMS and AIR model versions that have been released. The discussion was focused on how A.M. Best wants companies to demonstrate a solid understanding of their catastrophe risk exposure and where it fits within their risk tolerances. The panel outlined the need for rated companies to engage in ongoing discussions with their A.M Best analysts regarding the efficacy of model output, specifically, the companies’ confidence in the model output and the reasoning behind this view.

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Wide Range of Outcomes Seen in June 1, 2011, Florida Reinsurance Renewals: The June 1, 2011, renewals took place against the backdrop of record first-half catastrophe losses and uncertainty surrounding the release of version 11 of Risk Management Solutions’ (RMS) U.S. hurricane model. The heavy international natural catastrophe-related losses that occurred during the first quarter of 2011 - combined with the multi-billion dollar losses from tornadoes in the United States in April and May - have added to significant loss activity over the past 16 months, culminating in insured losses of close to USD100 billion.

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Earthquake in New Zealand: Another strong earthquake hit New Zealand’s South Island at 02:20 UTC on June 13, destroying buildings already weakened by two previous earthquakes that hit the region in September 2010 and February 2011. The latest event, measuring 6.0 Mw, was located 13 kilometers (8 miles) west of Christchurch and centered a shallow 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) underground, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The New Zealand Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science) recorded a magnitude of 6.3 for the event. According to the USGS, more than 430,000 people live in areas impacted by a Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) of V or higher. Christchurch, New Zealand’s second largest city with a population of around 364,000, experienced intensity VII on the MMI scale, equivalent to severe shaking with the potential to cause heavy damage to vulnerable structures and moderate/heavy damage to more resistant structures. The event was preceded by a 5.2 Mw earthquake and around 40 aftershocks have been recorded. GNS Science has warned the latest seismic activity is likely to trigger new aftershocks.

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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 (ERM) 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.

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Most Popular Keyword:   2011 hurricane season predictions

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Annuities in Third Party Bodily Injury Claims Settlements in Europe: Do They Have a Future Role to Play in Casualty Reinsurance?   Annuities have long been used to indemnify third party bodily injury victims by providing them with a guaranteed source of regular income. The indexed annuity has been a commonly accepted method of settling third parties’ loss of earnings and long-term care costs arising from the accidental injuries in jurisdictions where a) the cost of care has not been absorbed by a national scheme but has been passed to the private insurance industry (either directly or by way of recourse) and b) the courts (or out-of-court settlements) have awarded structured or rest-of-life settlements as opposed to lump sum payments.

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