January 2012 Reinsurance Renewal: Workers Compensation: A difficult market for workers compensation in 2011 is likely to extend into 2012. Deteriorating results in the primary market over the last few years have also had implications for reinsurers, which are under pressure from global property-catastrophe losses. Reinsurance rate declines were not the norm for the January 1, 2012, workers compensation renewals, as in past years. Factors ranged from sluggishness in the job market to the likelihood of reinsurer profit in other lines of business.
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.
Floods in Eastern Australia: Heavy rain has caused widespread flooding across parts of Queensland State and New South Wales State in eastern Australia, damaging hundreds of homes and businesses and forcing thousands of people to evacuate their properties. The floodwaters have reached record levels in some areas, isolating several communities.
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.
Update: Floods in Thailand: Thailand has experienced its worst flooding in years over the last few months, leaving more than 420 people dead and causing severe damage across northern and central regions of the country. The floods have severely damaged and disrupted manufacturing operations in Thailand.
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Reserving Cycle Analysis Suggests Tightening Ahead: In recent years there has been a steady stream of reserve releases from insurers, which helped support financial results in the face of a weakening market and significant catastrophe losses. Heading into 2012, Guy Carpenter’s analysis of the reserving cycle suggests that the tide may be turning, and we may be heading into a period of reserve shortfalls.