Here we bring together recent GC Capital Ideas stories that have presented options that good capital stewards in the reinsurance industry are currently considering for deployment of excess capital.
Maintaining the Status Quo: One of the biggest challenges facing reinsurers is deciding how to deploy excess capital to generate a return that meets or exceeds the expectation of investors or shareholders.
Return to Shareholders: As a principle, excess capital should be returned to shareholders in periods of low return opportunity (particularly below cost of capital) while more capital should be retained/deployed during periods that offer higher returns. The chart here on the Global Reinsurance Composite Return of capital shows that reinsurers have been relatively disciplined over the last eight years, with carriers returning more capital when the pricing environment has softened.
Organic Growth: With an abundance of excess capital, negligible growth in global reinsurance spend and the pricing outlook continuing to soften, one of the biggest challenges facing reinsurers is deciding how to deploy this excess capital to generate a return that meets or exceeds the expectation of investors or shareholders. Here we consider the option of organic growth.
M&A - Grow/Diversify by Product Line: As carriers explore M&A opportunities to grow in the current environment, there is strong interest from potential buyers looking for bolt-on opportunities rather than transformational transactions. Although this demand has not to-date triggered a significant increase in M&A transactions, the ingredients for more activity are now in place.
M&A - Grow/Diversify by Territory: With growth opportunities limited in mature markets, many insurers are looking to emerging markets for future expansion, in particular China, Southeast Asia and Central and Latin America. The chart here highlights gross written premium growth in emerging markets compared to developed markets from a 2003 base.
M&A: Achieve Meaningful Scale in Reinsurance: In a reinsurance market with abundant excess capital and where most reinsurance programs are oversubscribed, the need for a meaningful line size or differentiated underwriting contribution has never been more relevant.
M&A: The Evolving Legacy (Run-Off) Market: The recent completion by legacy solution specialists of a number of acquisitions in the live insurance space could be a watershed moment for the standalone run-off market. The original business concept of a run-off manager was a pure focus on legacy business - to achieve finality in legacy claims and manage the outstanding book of legacy business in the same cost efficient way that an insurer would manage a renewal book of business.
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