June 20th, 2011

Top Chart Room Stories on GC Capital Ideas

Posted at 1:00 AM ET

GCCapitalIdeas.com’s most popular area is the Chart Room, where we present our knowledge graphically. At this mid-point in the year, we highlight the most popular stories that have appeared in the last six months.

1. Chart: Guy Carpenter Global Property Catastrophe Rate on Line Index:  Early predictions that January 1, 2011 reinsurance renewal rates were likely to fall have been proven correct. The Guy Carpenter Global Property Catastrophe Rate on Line (ROL) Index lost 7.5 percent - the second consecutive annual decline. Contributing to this move has been a combination of factors, including moderate loss activity and abundant levels of industry surplus.

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2. Chart: Typical Reinsurance Rate Changes by Business Segment, Jan. 1, 2011: 2011 renewal rates varied widely by business segment - yet most trended overall flat to negative to their levels last year. The only sectors with a clear upward bias were marine & energy and credit, bond & political risk.

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3. Chart: Property & Casualty Accident Year Reserve Development: Accident year loss experience is beginning to show signs of lower reserve margins. The chart below shows U.S. P&C industry reserve development by accident year since 2000. The reserving cycle is evident in the graph with adverse accident year loss development during the “soft market” years of 2000 and 2001 and favorable development between 2003 and 2007. The orange line in the graph shows the average initial loss ratio pick. The old reserving adage that “good years get better and bad years get worse” appears to be borne out here.

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4. Chart: Sustainability of Loss Reserves: Historically, one of the “big cats” has been sector under-reserving, which served as the backdrop for the last hard market. Over the last four years, reserve releases have featured prominently in the reinsurance sector and have continued to do so up until the third quarter of 2010. The chart below shows the contribution to reserve releases on the Guy Carpenter Bermuda Reinsurance Composite combined ratios from 2005. It is notable that the benefit from reserve releases has ticked up in the first nine months of 2010 by one full percentage point, to 8.8 points on the loss ratio. This has occurred during a year when many projected reserve releases would diminish.

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5. Chart: Incurred But Not Reported Levels a Measure of Reserving Trends: A clue which could point to a shift in reserving trends may be evident in U.S. P&C industry percentage of first year incurred but not reported (IBNR) figures, which, all else equal, is a measure of reserving conservatism. In the chart below, a trend of potentially diminishing conservatism can be seen. It is significant that the industry is, in aggregate, back to levels of around 30 percent - levels previously seen in the last soft market.

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