January 5th, 2015

GC Capital Ideas Top Stories: December, 2014

Posted at 1:00 AM ET

1. Casualty Catastrophe Risk Modeling: Casualty (or liability based) catastrophes have become increasingly frequent and severe over the past decade, exposing (re)insurers to much more risk than they may have realized and reserved for. One root cause can trigger a chain reaction that can bleed balance sheets and even imperil solvency. Until recently, casualty carriers had little choice but to accept this risk as losses emerged.

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2. The Reinsurance Evolution Continues: Executive Summary: During the past twelve months, capital has continued to flow into the reinsurance markets in the form of both insurance-linked securities (ILS) and collateralized reinsurance transactions. This report examines the growth in the ILS market during the past year and some of the important evolutionary elements of catastrophe bond structure and risk transfer. We also explore how the use of capital markets-based capacity provides cost savings for public entities by helping them build surplus, reduce public debt and limit the risk that natural perils can pose to the state’s balance sheet. As collateralized markets continue to increase in importance as an alternative to both traditional reinsurance and ILS, Guy Carpenter has taken an active role in analyzing counterparty risk and developing specific structures and strategies to manage this risk. This report also provides an overview of the manner in which Guy Carpenter assists its clients in managing counterparty risk and limiting credit exposure.

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3. Cyber-attacks and Terrorism Revealed as Top Emerging Risks for 2015, According to Annual Guy Carpenter Survey: Cyber-attacks and terrorism are ranked among the top emerging risks concerning the (re)insurance industry in the year ahead, according to a survey released by Guy Carpenter. According to the findings, new products, expansion into new geographic markets and access to new distribution channels will be the primary drivers of profitable growth in 2015.

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4. Chart: Global Property Catastrophe ROL Index: The Guy Carpenter Global Property Catastrophe Rate on Line index is presented for 1990 through 2014.  The index fell by 11 percent at January 1, 2014.

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5. Reserving Risks: The previous sections suggested how “dark matter” can be lurking on an insurer’s balance sheets in the form of a casualty catastrophe or an emerging and not as yet fully understood risk such as cyber. While there have been significant advances in quantifying the uncertainty pertaining to these risks, it is worth considering how they may manifest themselves in the future and what can be done about them now to protect from the “dark matter” downside.

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6. Understanding Emerging Risks: Imperative for the Future: The downside focus of risk measures highlights what could be a key problem with the debate around emerging risks - when people think about risk they only consider the downside. Cars, penicillin, fossil fuels, the internet - all of these were once emerging risks, and they have caused global destruction through car accidents, antibiotic resistance, climate change, and now, possibly through cyber risk. But they have also brought far better travel, longer and much healthier lives for almost everyone, affordable electricity for people in their own homes, and an explosion of information on a scale never seen before available freely at the click of a button.

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7. 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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8. Impact on Results: To consider the impact that these cycles may have on the financial statements and solvency positions of insurers there has to be an understanding of the magnitude of any change in ultimate loss and the likely timing of the recognition of that change. The profit or loss in any financial year is a combination of the profit and loss from that accident year and also any recognized changes in the reserves from prior years.

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9. Private Catastrophe Bonds: The growth in the utilization of private catastrophe bonds continues at similar rates. Private catastrophe bonds provide the same benefits as 144A catastrophe bonds, including fully collateralized, multi-year protection, but private bonds are more cost-effective and allow for more streamlined documentation given the typically smaller limit size of each transaction. The chart shows the evolution of private catastrophe bonds based both on deal count and total aggregate limit placed. In an environment of growing demand for capital markets capacity, GC Securities*, a division of MMC Securities Corp., a US registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/NFA/SIPC, formulized its private catastrophe bond approach in June 2013 with development of the Tensai private catastrophe bond program in conjunction with Tokio Millenium Solutions’ Shima Re Ltd. facility.

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10. Capital Markets Capacity: Growth Dominates in 2014: The influx of new capital into the reinsurance industry constitutes the largest change to the sector’s capital structure in recent memory. Over the past 24 months, approximately USD20 billion of new capital has entered the market through investments in insurance linked securities (ILS), funds and sidecars as well as the formation of hedge fund-related reinsurance companies and collateralized reinsurance vehicles.

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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/NFA/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. (MMCSEL), which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, main office 25 The North Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London E14 5HS. 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. **GC Analytics is a registered mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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