BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.

To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.

To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.

Login Register Subscribe

Most property/casualty reinsurance rates soft: Brokers


Reinsurance buyers with Jan. 1 renewals found rates slightly lower across most property/casualty lines, several reinsurance brokers say.

Willis Re, the reinsurance brokerage unit of Willis Group Holdings P.L.C., said despite strong reinsurance underwriting profits and recovering global investment markets, a lack of premium growth for primary insurers resulted in a “disciplined softening” of the reinsurance market.

In its report, Willis Re late last week said rate reductions were more common on growing portfolios where reinsurers took on larger exposures but did not increase premiums.

“Despite global economic headwinds, the reinsurance industry has enjoyed one of its most profitable underwriting years for a number of years,” Willis Re CEO Peter Hearn said in a statement. “This is due to the recovery on the asset side of reinsurers' balance sheets in line with the strong performance of global markets in 2009.”

In a separate report, Guy Carpenter & Co. L.L.C. said U.S. property catastrophe reinsurance prices decreased an average of 6% for the most recent renewals. In continental Europe, rates were flat to 5% lower, according to the brokerage. Rates for U.S. casualty business fell up to 10% at renewals, according to the report. In Europe, excess auto liability reinsurance rates rose up to 10% for some accounts.

In a third report, Aon Benfield said capacity in the global catastrophe reinsurance market is near its all-time December 2007 peak and is “meaningfully higher” than a year ago.

Aon Benfield said the pace of reinsurers' capital growth will slow before spring and summer renewals because of share repurchases and more stable investment returns. Capital growth likely will outpace demand for reinsurance, signaling some softening assuming there are no significant catastrophes, the broker's Dec. 31 report concluded.

“At January 2010 renewals, reinsurers showed markedly less anxiety than last year and were more focused on gaining the largest possible signings on their reinsurance program authorizations,” Bryon Ehrhart, CEO of Aon Benfield Analytics, said in a statement. “The market is again competitive as capacity growth outpaced demand growth, and the global catastrophe reinsurance market softened; however, the market is not soft,” he said.

“Renewal rates reflected a disciplined view by reinsurers on the balance of risk and return on capital deployed,” he said. “Reinsurers had the necessary capacity to renew all their cedents' programs, but could also maintain higher levels of capital if reasonable demand were present.”

In its report, Willis Re said long-tail liability classes, especially in the United States, still are priced inadequately.

As for marine reinsurance, renewal rates fell an average of 5% and, absent significant losses, downward pressure on those rates is expected to continue this year, Guy Carpenter said.

The Guy Carpenter report said reinsurers recovered quickly from the global financial crisis and benefited from relatively few catastrophe losses in 2009.

The Aon Benfield report is at, the Guy Carpenter report is at and the Willis Re report is at