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.
Archive for the ‘Casualty’ Category
Incorporating reserve value added (RVA) into reinsurance decision making for long-tail lines is a step in the right direction. However, it is not the full story, as the decision is still typically made in the context of a single accident year and usually for a single line of business in isolation. The cycle correlations clearly show that this is sub-optimal. We are encouraging our clients a step further along the sophistication and hence simplicity/complexity spectrum.
So what can be done to mitigate such cyclical effects? The first steps are to acknowledge them and to try to quantify their impact. The latter is more of a challenge than the former. Most internal capital models are not truly multiyear and arguably fail to adequately capture both the correlation between lines of business and in particular across accident years. Cycle (and recognition pattern) scenario testing is a good way to achieve this. This provides a neat and practical way to correlate between years and lines of business.
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.
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.
Casualty catastrophe occurrences have become increasingly common over the past decade. The recent 2008 financial catastrophe is the easiest to cite, due to its sheer size and the fact that it continues to unfold even today. But, there have been many others. The collapse of the “dotcom economy” led to scandals around initial public offering laddering and equity analyst conflicts of interest. Accounting firms were not alone in suffering financial loss related to such debacles as Enron, WorldCom, Tyco and Adelphia. While insured losses did not reach those of property catastrophes, economic damages were profound. Enron’s loss of USD66 billion in market capitalization alone - not including the economic damage caused to other companies - was more than double that of Hurricane Ike (approximately USD30 billion). The financial catastrophe is estimated to have caused economic damage of above USD1 trillion, with more likely to follow. When considered in the context of the Deepwater Horizon industrial accident, the casualty catastrophe that unraveled from the largest US offshore energy event over the past 40 years was by no means remote. Beyond the initial property loss of the actual drilling rig, liability risk in paying claims continues to extend and ripple throughout the supply chain involved as well as the environmental impact to numerous coastal and commercial businesses. Asbestos litigation, perhaps the longest casualty catastrophe on record, has paid out over USD70 billion and by some accounts may be entering its third wave. Therefore, asbestos is an emerging crystalizing risk that needs to be continuously monitored, measured and modeled for those who continue to be exposed to it.
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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Demand for Asia Pacific Catastrophe Reinsurance Remains High in 2014: Guy Carpenter published a new report highlighting the continued increase in 2014 of total Asia Pacific catastrophe limit purchased. However, a confluence of factors, including the weakening of some key zone currencies has meant that reinsurance premium spend in the region has declined significantly.
4. Cyber Coverage: Directors & Officers (D&O) Liability: Cyber coverage is also having an effect on directors and officers (D&O) liability in the United States. Oversight and increased requirements for disclosure on cybersecurity are making D&O coverage more important than ever. With the rise of data breaches and other cyber-attacks, directors and officers are responsible for making sure that they are taking sufficient steps to protect their company’s digital assets. In the case of a data breach, directors can be hit with shareholder suits and shareholder derivative actions claiming that the directors breached their fiduciary duty to the company for failing to put adequate cyber security measures in place.
5. Terror Developments: Overview of TRIPRA: Some may question why terrorism risk has a place in a document dedicated to emerging risk. Terrorism as a form of violence to promote cause or promote change is one of the original human conflicts. The wind blows and the earth shakes much the same way now as it has for hundreds, thousands of years. However, terrorism as a risk and a peril has evolved over the years and is a current concern in all parts of the world. Given the growing population, regional conflicts producing a broad list of potential instigators, the expansive reach of social media for extremists spreading their messages and recruiting and the diversity of possible attack modes to cause human and economic loss, terrorism does qualify as an emerging risk.
6. Guy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman Publish Annual Insurance Risk Benchmarks Research: Guy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman, both wholly owned subsidiaries of Marsh & McLennan Companies, released the 2014 Insurance Risk Benchmarks Research: Annual Statistical Review, the first in a two-part series detailing research executed in collaboration with Columbia University. This, the fourth annual report, provides detailed analysis and insight on the property/casualty industry to help insurers strategically evaluate and benchmark inputs to economic capital models.
7. Regional Variations in Cyber Cover: Here we examine the variations in the regulation of data protection and privacy between the United States and Europe.
8. Modeling Terrorism: Modeling methodologies for terrorism have been continually refined and updated since the three major modeling companies - AIR Worldwide (AIR), EQECAT and Risk Management Solutions (RMS) - released their first terrorism models in 2002. Quantifying the economic, insured and human losses from a terrorist attack continues to pose major challenges for (re)insurers and alternative capacity providers. There are three main techniques to model terrorism risk.
9. Emerging Risk: Periodic Payment Orders: For a number of reasons the United Kingdom represents an extreme example of the impact of annuity compensation structures. For severe bodily injury cases it is now highly likely that the claimant will opt for an annuity structure (known as a periodic payment order, or PPO) rather than a lump-sum. These are often indexed accordingly to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). As a consequence, the uncertainties that had previously been transferred to the claimant are now retained by the insurer (and to a certain extent, its reinsurers). Unlike an individual claimant, the insurer needs to articulate these risks in its capital modeling.
10. Chart: Combined Ratio for Guy Carpenter Composite, H1 2014: Chart presents combined ratio for the Guy Carpenter Global Reinsurance Composite, 2004 through first half, 2014.