April 4th, 2012

GC Capital Ideas Top Stories: March 2012

Posted at 1:00 AM ET

1. 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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2. 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.

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3. Capital Management: Reinsurance Valuations at a Long-Term Low:  The challenging macroeconomic environment of subdued growth and low interest rates meant the reinsurance sector ended 2011 trading near 20-year lows. As Figure 1 illustrates, the average price to book ratio for the sector of 0.893 is just greater than one and a half standard deviations down from the 20-year average of 1.32. The sovereign debt crisis, threat of a double-dip recession, heavy non-peak zone catastrophe losses during 2011 and concerns about reserve adequacy are among the factors contributing to volatility and low valuations. Additionally, despite the heavy losses incurred during 2011, many reinsurers are still perceived to have excess capital relative to projected earnings and top-line growth.

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4. 2011 Catastrophe Losses and Reinsurance Capital: Part III: Significant weather-related losses also occurred in the United States in 2011 after one of the worst tornado seasons on record caused a combined insured loss of around USD20 billion. If considered a single event, the tornado losses in the second quarter would have ranked as the fourth most expensive disaster in US history, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

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5. State of the Reinsurance Market, Part I: Deleveraging Cycle, Growth Expectations: As we bid farewell to a tumultuous 2011 and enter 2012, it is becoming very clear that the (re)insurance sector will remain exposed to profound changes in the global economy. The coming year promises to be one of economic, monetary and political transition.

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6. Property & Casualty M&A Outlook for 2012: Guy Carpenter sees several potential merger and acquisitions (M&A) drivers in 2012 and beyond.

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7. Eurozone - Reinsurance Contract Issues:  The implications of the many possible outcomes of the current “Eurozone Crisis” are profound and unpredictable and in some cases, unprecedented. The implications are also wide-ranging, embracing political, economic and legal dimensions. Such complexity gives rise to different, not to say contradictory, interpretations and predictions. However, we can only be certain that actual events, when they happen, will follow their own unique trajectory.

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8. Catastrophe Bonds: 2011 Review - Activity, Risk Capital Outstanding: 2011 was a year of significant activity for catastrophe risk investors and sponsors. As of December 9, 2011, the total 144A property catastrophe bond issuance for the year stood at USD3.86 billion, which is 84 percent of the USD4.6 billion issued during the 2010 calendar year. By the end of 2011, total issuance is expected to exceed USD4.0 billion, and a deep pipeline of transactions exists for the first half of 2012 and beyond.

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9. Alternative Risk Transfer: Part I, Adverse Development Cover, Aggregate Stop Loss: Alternative risk solutions are used to address the following client motivations: rating agency issues, adverse development, earnings stability, reserve and premium leverage issues, reinsurance recoverables, terrorism risk, capital optimization constraints, mergers and acquisitions, discontinued lines of business, provide coverage for gaps in traditional placements and optimizing costs. The structured risk team designs customized solutions to achieve a particular client’s goals. An optimal reinsurance structure is determined by capacity needs, risk tolerances, capital management, cost of risk and degree of confidence in results. A cedent will need to balance the cost of transferring sources of risk with not only its own capital management strategies but also capital requirements imposed by rating agencies.

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10. 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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Securities or investments, as applicable, are offered in the United States through GC Securities, a division of MMC Securities Corp., a US registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC. Main Office: 1166 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036. Phone: (212) 345-5000. Securities or investments, as applicable, are offered in the European Union by GC Securities, a division of MMC Securities (Europe) Ltd., which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Reinsurance products are placed through qualified affiliates of Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC. MMC Securities Corp., MMC Securities (Europe) Ltd. and Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC are affiliates owned by Marsh & McLennan Companies. This communication is not intended as an offer to sell or a solicitation of any offer to buy any security, financial instrument, reinsurance or insurance product. Cory Anger and Chi Hum are registered representatives of MMC Securities Corp.

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