Reinsurance Rates: Disciplined Softening

Reinsurance rates across most property/casualty lines were lower at January 1, 2010 renewals, according to the latest round of broker reports. A briefing from Guy Carpenter found that its world catastrophe rate on line (ROL) index declined by six percent at January 1, as the reinsurance market recovered and swiftly recapitalized in the wake of the global financial crisis and large reduction in catastrophe losses. Rates for U.S. property catastrophe business were down by an average of six percent and by as much as 11 percent, according to Guy Carpenter. Rates for U.S. casualty business fell by as much as 10 percent. Meanwhile Aon Benfield noted that the remarkable recovery of both insurer and reinsurer capital translated into a catastrophe reinsurance renewal market for January 2010 that was focused on rate decreases in the market’s peak zones of U.S. hurricane and U.S. earthquake. Capacity for the global catastrophe reinsurance market has been restored to near its all time peak of December 2007 and is meaningfully higher than the levels witnessed throughout the January 2009 renewal season, according to Aon Benfield. In another report, Willis Re said strong underwriting profits, a recovery in the global investment markets and a lack of premium growth for primary underwriters have resulted in a disciplined softening of reinsurance pricing at January 1 renewals. The disciplined rating approach, says Willis Re, reflects reinsurers’ concern that the excellent 2009 underwriting results are less due to attractive pricing than a below average pattern of natural catastrophe and man-made losses. Check out I.I.I. information on reinsurance.

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