December 3rd, 2012

GC Capital Ideas Top Stories: November 2012

Posted at 1:00 AM ET

1. Superstorm Sandy: Initial Impacts and Implications: Guy Carpenter has published a new briefing: Superstorm Sandy: Initial Impacts and Implications. As documented by the National Hurricane Center, Superstorm Sandy made landfall as a post-tropical cyclone at 8PM EDT, Monday Oct 29, 2012, with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.

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2. 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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3. Update: Sandy: As always, our immediate thoughts and concerns are with those directly affected by Sandy, both in North America, and across the Caribbean. Many areas along the East Coast, and the Caribbean, bear signs of unspeakable consequences from this historic storm. The death toll in North America is now at least 55 (including one in Canada), in addition to the 67 who died in the Caribbean last week.

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4. Global Perils: As Table 1 shows, the three perils of wind, earthquake and flood have caused the heaviest losses to (re)insurers. While hurricanes in the United States have unsurprisingly generated the biggest wind losses, the most expensive earthquakes and floods have a more international flavor. Indeed, the most expensive earthquake loss and flood loss on record occurred last year in Japan and Thailand, respectively. Moreover, both the Tohoku earthquake/tsunami and the Thai floods revealed risks that (re)insurers had not previously considered, with contingent business interruption claims - resulting from supply chain failure - accounting for a large share of insured losses. High impact, low frequency events (such as earthquakes and tropical cyclones) and perils that typically are more regular (such as floods) are widespread in several developing markets, raising the prospect of more hidden loss potential.

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5. Guy Carpenter Publishes Second Annual Insurance Risk Benchmarks Report: Guy Carpenter has published its second annual Insurance Risk Benchmarks, a resource designed to help insurers assess risk parameters and improve economic capital modeling. The report provides benchmarks for underwriting and reserve risk by line of business and by industry segment for U.S. exposures, and can be used by insurers when benchmarking their economic capital models.

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6. Thailand Flood 2011: Executive Summary: In 2011, Thailand experienced its worst flooding in years, leaving more than 800 people dead and causing severe damage across northern and central regions of the country. The floods, lasting a few months, severely damaged and disrupted manufacturing operations in Thailand. Flooding also forced seven huge industrial estates in central regions to close, causing damage to the industrial sector in the billions of U.S. dollars. It is interesting to note that prior to 2011, none of the industrial parks in Thailand had been flooded over the past 40 years. During the last major flood in 1995, the dykes in the industrial parks kept floodwaters out.

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7. Guy Carpenter Asia Pacific Catastrophe Report 2012; Executive Summary: At the time we were publishing our 2011 Asia Pacific Catastrophe report there was a growing realization that losses from the Thai flooding at the time were going to be significant. The Thai flood losses came at the end of a run of losses in the Asia Pacific region that were large, unprecedented in recent times and possibly unexpected by many market participants.

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8. Terrorism: Global Terror Attacks and Hotspots: The increasingly diverse and dispersed threat has seen worldwide terrorist activity rise in recent years. The number of global terrorist attacks peaked at more than 14,400 in 2006 (see Figure 1). Although there has been a slight dip in the number of attacks over the last five years, they remain at historically high levels. Attacks increased dramatically in Afghanistan and Iraq following the deployment of coalition combat troops. Several other countries have also witnessed a big jump in terrorist activity recently, including Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

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9. Indexation Clauses in Liability Reinsurance Treaties: A Comparison Across Europe: The Indexation Clause - otherwise referred to as the Stability Clause, Inflation Clause, or Severe Inflation Clause (SIC) - is designed to maintain the real monetary value of the retention and (where applicable) the limit under a long-tail excess of loss (XL) reinsurance treaty over the duration of the claims payout pattern. The clause is only relevant to losses that are of a long-tail nature (i.e., that take a long time to become paid) and is commonly found in the terms and conditions of Motor Liability (MTPL), General Liability (GTPL), and Professional Liability TPL XL reinsurance contracts of European cedents.

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10. Floods in Italy and France: Torrential rainfall across northern and central Italy and southeastern France has triggered widespread flooding, killing at least 11 people and causing damage to property and infrastructure. Reports said the heavy rainfall caused rivers to burst their banks and forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes. The Italian city of Genoa was badly hit on November 4 after more than 350 millimeters of rain fell in six hours. Authorities in Italy have issued fresh flood alerts and are warning thousands more people will be at risk if the flooding continues.

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