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Reinsurance renewal rates stable despite losses, higher insurance prices

Reinsurance renewal rates stable despite losses, higher insurance prices

U.S. and global reinsurance rates were largely stable at Jan. 1, 2019, renewals despite increases in some primary insurance lines and a tightening retrocessional reinsurance market, according to reports by reinsurance brokers released Wednesday.

Property catastrophe reinsurance renewals and lower layer property coverages in general saw moderate decreases or increases, depending on the losses cedents reported in 2018, and casualty reinsurance rates saw similar movements in renewal rates, according to a renewal report by Willis Re, the reinsurance brokerage unit of Willis Towers Watson PLC.

“Unlike prior cycles where reinsurance informed primary market pricing, some primary lines are seeing significantly larger rate increases than is the case with treaty reinsurance business,” the Willis Re report said.

A reinsurance pricing report by JLT Re, the reinsurance brokerage arm of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group PLC, reported similar findings.

“Reinsurance renewals broadly defied early expectations of post-loss firming for the second consecutive year … as reinsurers’ desire and ability to underwrite risks remained healthy overall,” says JLT Re.

U.S. property reinsurance rates for accounts without losses were flat to down 2.5% and accounts with losses were flat to up 10%, according to the Willis report. Property catastrophe reinsurance coverage layers saw renewal rates ranging from -2.5% to 5% for loss-free accounts and up between 5% and 20% for accounts that suffered losses in 2018, the report said.

Other regions saw similar renewal pricing trends. In Europe, including the United Kingdom, property reinsurance rates varied between -5% and 10%, depending on loss records. In Asia, property rates ranged from -10% to 2.5%, depending on loss experience.

U.S. general liability reinsurance rates ranged from -3% to 10%, depending on losses, professional liability reinsurance rates ranged from -5% to 5% and auto liability reinsurance rates ranged from flat to up 10%, according to the Willis report.

European casualty reinsurance rates ranged from -5% to 15%, depending on losses. The report did not break out casualty reinsurance rates for Asia.

The retrocessional reinsurance market – where reinsurers buy their own reinsurance coverage – experienced some pressure as funds supported by insurance-linked securities suffered another year of high catastrophe losses, Willis Re said.

“The variation of individual ILS funds’ exposures to different product types is starting to impact the ability of many funds to attract new investors,” Willis Re said. However, long-term interest by institutional investors in ILS funds “remains robust,” the report said.

Investor interest in the ILS market, which accounts for a significant amount of retrocessional capacity, softened during the fourth quarter of 2018, JLT said in its renewal report.

“Appetite had been moderating throughout 2018 due to lower-than-expected returns and loss deterioration from 2017 events. Many insurance-linked securities funds therefore confronted a more challenging environment this renewal, as claims mounted from Hurricane Michael and the California wildfires … as well as Typhoon Jebi, the strongest typhoon to hit Japan in 25 years,” JLT said.










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