Earthquake insurance coverage in developed and emerging economies varies widely, and earthquake coverage can be low, even in certain established markets. Of all the earthquakes that have caused economic losses over USD1 billion over the last three years, only events in New Zealand and Chile saw the (re)insurance sector contribute more than 25 percent of the overall cost.
Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’
Over the last two years, several powerful earthquakes have caused widespread damage, leading to significant losses for (re)insurers. Four out of the five most costly earthquakes on record have occurred since the start of 2010, and all four of these events were located outside the United States.
Guy Carpenter Asia-Pacific Climate Impact Centre Issues Predictions of Tropical Cyclone Activity in Australian Region
Guy Carpenter Asia-Pacific Climate Impact Centre (GCACIC), a joint initiative of Guy Carpenter & Company and City University of Hong Kong, issued its annual predictions for the 2012/2013 tropical cyclone season for the Australian region. The final forecast is for near-normal activity (12 tropical cyclones) for the region.
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 CBI 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.
The rise of natural catastrophe insured losses in non-peak zones is evident when looking at the global distribution of losses over the last three years. Figure 1 shows 35 percent of insured losses between 2009 and 2011 were located in Asia while only 33 percent were in the United States. Australia and New Zealand also saw a marked increase in insured natural catastrophe losses during this period, with 19 percent of the total.
October 30, 2012: At the time we were publishing our 2011 Asia Pacific Catastrophe report, there was a growing realization that losses from the Thai flooding ongoing 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.
Over the last few years, the global (re)insurance sector has seen significant increases in cold spot catastrophe losses. This growing trend refers to exposures in territories that have historically been considered non-peak zones and are unmodeled or inadequately modeled. It is also a by-product of the increasingly global economy in which (re)insurers operate and the growing demand for (re)insurance in emerging and developing territories. These developments are expected to have a significant impact on the property catastrophe market, driving the need for a deeper analysis of risk in non-peak catastrophe zones. Indeed, developing a better understanding of underwriting risks in these new markets and overcoming the current catastrophe model limitations are key ingredients to future success.
In addition to the challenging macroeconomic environment, the sector has had to contend with heavy catastrophe losses over the last few years, particularly in areas not previously considered peak risks. Since 2010, (re)insurers have been hit by powerful earthquakes in Chile and New Zealand and devastating floods in Thailand and Australia. The result has been unexpectedly expensive “cold spot” losses at a time of increased insurance demand in regions such as emerging Asia and Latin America. Furthermore, the lack of catastrophe modeling solutions in emerging markets has raised concerns that (re)insurers do not currently possess an adequate understanding of the scale and nature of losses that can occur in these territories. In contrast to 2011, global catastrophe activity has been relatively light so far in 2012.
“Cold Spot” Catastrophe Losses Reveal Potential Emerging Market Risks, According to Guy Carpenter Report
Guy Carpenter published a new report that offers insight into catastrophe risks in developing economies and how they are likely to affect the (re)insurance sector as companies target growth opportunities in these new markets, including emerging Asia and Latin America.
Australia & New Zealand
The handful of casualty placements in Australia/New Zealand at the July 1, 2012, renewal continued to operate against a backdrop of a benign claims environment. As a result, reinsurers were constrained in their efforts to increase rates to offset their declines in investment interest income. General casualty lines renewed within a range of down 4 percent to up 3 percent, with reinsurers seeking rate increases of 3 percent to 5 percent.