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Energy insurance market complexity grows, but most rates steady: Marsh


Excess capacity and continued competition mean most insurance buyers can expect favorable conditions when buying insurance during the fourth quarter, Marsh Inc. said in its latest Energy Market Monitor report.

However, some sectors of the energy insurance market may see rate increases, and some underwriters already have or plan to reduce capacity for certain lines of business in 2012, Marsh said Tuesday.

A contraction in capacity for excess liability coverage for U.S.-based risks is causing difficulties on placements of $200 million or more, Marsh said.

Many reinsurers have taken a “hardened approach” to the sector after natural catastrophe losses, noted the London-based Marsh unit.

“As a result, some market share has moved to specialist energy insurers who broadly recognize that energy firms have suffered few natural catastrophe losses in 2011. Marsh expects this trend to continue in 2012,” it said.

“We have entered a period where the energy insurance market is much more difficult to read,” Jim Pierce, global chairman of Marsh's energy practice in Houston, said in a statement. “The fundamentals still point to a soft environment, but the reality of the marketplace is much more complex.”

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