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New ILS issuance reaches $9.7B in 2018, second-highest on record

Swiss Re ILS report

New issuance of insurance-linked securities reached $9.7 billion across 29 transactions and 49 tranches in 2018, making it the second-highest year of issuance volume since the market’s inception and off only 8% from 2017’s $10.5 billion, Swiss Re Ltd. said in a report Tuesday.

Third-quarter issuance of $1.55 billion was the second-highest ever and almost double the year-ago period’s $780 million, Swiss Re said.

Fourth-quarter 2018, however, saw only $536 million of new issuance, the smallest fourth-quarter new issuance since 2008, when no new bonds were issued in the fourth quarter, according to Swiss Re, leading to “a lackluster ending to 2018” with second-half issuance at $2.09 billion.

By risk, 43% of 2018 bonds were multiperil, while 13% covered Japanese typhoon and/or earthquake and 12% covered U.S. windstorm and 8% covered U.S earthquake, Swiss Re said.

Two returning sponsors had earthquake bonds: Oak Tree Assurance, through its Bermuda-based SPI, Acorn Re Ltd., $400 million note covering West Coast earthquake coverage on a parametric per-occurrence basis to replenish the $300 million Acorn Re 2015-1 note that matured in July 2018.

The California Earthquake Authority replaced its maturing Ursa Re 2015-1 Class B note with another $250 million bond, covering California earthquakes on an aggregate indemnity basis, Swiss Re noted.

The reinsurer also noted a slight shift in risk profile, perhaps due to recent heavy catastrophe activity, but not pricing.

“The 2017 catastrophe events seemed to have little impact on overall issuance prices for 2018. Sponsors generally targeted slightly less risky tranches of notes,” Swiss Re said.

Deals with parametric triggers comprised an estimated 18% of the bonds issued in 2018, nearly doubling the seven-year average of parametric notes issued as $1.8 billion of notes were issued with parametric triggers.

“Parametric triggers have made a significant comeback to the market in the last two years,” Swiss Re said.

The first half of 2019 has $3.7 billion across 23 tranches of catastrophe bonds expected to mature, excluding bonds that were extended in 2018, Swiss Re said.

“Investors remained steadfast in holding their positions through the first half of the year in anticipation of 2017 loss results from hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the multitude of California wildfires,” Swiss Re said in its report.






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