January 27th, 2012

Week’s Top Stories: January 21 - 27, 2012

Posted at 11:00 AM ET

January 2012 Reinsurance Renewal: United Kingdom: Reinsurance rates were generally flat at the January 1, 2012, renewal for the UK property market. While there were no local events causing reinsurance treaty losses, the effects of global catastrophes and local retention losses, such as freeze and riot, did have an impact.

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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 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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Guy Carpenter’s January 2012, Reinsurance Renewal Report: Executive Summary: The (re)insurance sector experienced historic catastrophe losses in 2011, many in areas not previously considered ‘peak’ risks. Devastating earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, floods in Thailand and Australia and a record-breaking tornado season in the United States contributed to insured losses in excess of USD100 billion. As carriers continue to penetrate new growth regions, ‘cold spot’ losses are expected to increase.

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Renewals Reveal Shift in Industry Behavior: The January 1, 2012, renewals saw a shift in industry behavior as both insurers and reinsurers implemented more sophisticated, customized approaches to risk assessment and mitigation, according to Guy Carpenter. In its 2012 global reinsurance outlook, Catastrophes, Cold Spots and Capital: Navigating for Success in a Transitioning Market, Guy Carpenter reported that reinsurers were in a position to undertake a major review of pricing and underwriting going into the renewal season. This led to significant market fragmentation and increased market volatility at January 1.

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Guy Carpenter: January 2012 Reinsurance Renewal - Property Overview: The events of 2011 had a significant impact on property renewals at January 1, 2012. The approach to the property market, particularly property catastrophe business, has evolved significantly since Hurricane Andrew with the gradual incorporation of technical and model-based underwriting. There is evidence at this renewal that another subtle shift has taken place.

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And, you may have missed…

History of Microfinance:  By most accounts, the modern microfinance movement began in Bangladesh more than 25 years ago, with the official opening of Grameen Bank in 1983. This institution and its revolutionary “double bottom-line,” “social business” practices remains 95 percent owned by its poor clients and has had lasting effects on the microfinance industry and on economic development efforts in general. Grameen Bank was profitable for 22 of its first 25 years of existence and has helped 65 percent of its clients’ families to exit poverty. On a broader scale, this effort has demonstrated that a microfinance institution (MFI) can be successful in fulfilling both aspects of its twofold mission: turning a profit and achieving social good via combating global poverty.

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