Reinsurance placements at 1 January 2019 highlight a pricing gap between accounts with peak peril exposures or poor loss records and the rest, with many reinsurers placing emphasis on the quality of client counterparties, according to the latest 1st View renewals report from Willis Re, the reinsurance division of Willis Towers Watson, the leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.
A two-track trend has been especially evident in property catastrophe renewals, where cedants with good loss records and a disciplined, early renewal process achieved risk-adjusted rate reductions, while loss impacted accounts and clients viewed as of lesser quality are seeing upward pricing across a number of lines.
The ILS market faces a more comprehensive test in the absence of a major pricing uptick following significant loss erosion for some funds in both 2017 and 2018. Some funds are challenged in attracting new investors, and those with long-standing and successful track records, consistent and well-regarded management teams, and flexible trust language or fronting agreements are the ones best equipped for success.
Adjustments to business models initiated over the year have taken on an increased urgency, including the well-documented changes within the Lloyd’s market. The upshot is that some primary lines are seeing significantly larger rate increases than treaty reinsurance business.
Reinsurers have benefited from increases in premium ceded by large carriers, notably through large new pro rata cessions where terms have slightly tilted in reinsurers’ favor. At the same time, major reinsurers’ strength and client-centric flexibility remain key to large cedants’ goal of dampening earnings volatility.
James Kent, Global CEO, Willis Re, said: “In the immediate aftermath of the 2017 catastrophe losses, many observers felt the measured reaction of the reinsurance market was a clear sign of a changing structure and maturity. Others more cautiously suggested time was needed to properly assess the impact of 2017 events. In the wake of the high loss activity during the second half of 2018, early renewal negotiations have proved prudent, while pricing in the primary market has given reinsurers some cause for optimism in light of the increased pro rata cessions from clients.”
Pricing competition remains robust across Asia. Loss-free programs are seeing risk-adjusted pricing between -2.5% and -10%. A number of programs are showing slip premium reductions.
■ No shortage in excess of loss capacity, even for programs that are priced below indicated
modeled technical prices.
■ Proportional pricing is firmer across the region, with the exception of China, where commission increases have been sought and achieved in a number of high profile placements.
■ Catastrophe event limits now range from 1 x risk limit/treaty capacity to up to 5/6 x risk limit/treaty capacity, depending on territory. The average event limits fall around 2.5 x risk limit/treaty
■ Major reinsurers continuing to display segmentation discipline across their client base.