Daily Willis Review October 24,2017

Q3 losses will be a capital event for many reinsurers, says Willis Re’s Dirk Spenner
Third quarter 2017 catastrophe losses will turn into a capital event for many reinsurers, according to Willis Re Head of EMEA North/East Dirk Spenner.

“Whilst most reinsurers produced satisfactory returns on equity and high dividend levels at the end of Q2 2017, the third quarter losses will eliminate much of these earnings and for many will turn into a capital event to varying degrees,” he told an Insurance Insider round table published during the Baden-Baden reinsurance meeting.

“We would expect reinsurer renewal strategies to be influenced by their relative share of the losses – being over or underweight, their dependence on retrocession, their ability to purchase retro or for the ILS markets to reload capital (albeit at higher cost), and their ability to demonstrate a sustainable business model to their investors.”

The round table also discussed the impact that losses from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria may have on January 1 renewals in Europe.

Mr. Spenner said that in previous large loss years in 2005, 2011 and 2012 there had been single region rate adjustments for loss-affected regions.

He added: “We would anticipate that reinsurers would want to spread the burden of rate adjustments at 1 January as far as possible but would expect that impact on rates will be focused on loss-affected regions and accounts.

Steve Arora named CEO of AXIS Re
AXIS Capital Holdings has announced that Steve Arora has been named as Chief Executive Officer of AXIS Re.

He joins from Swiss Re, where he spent 18 years, most recently as Head of Casualty and a member of the Reinsurance Executive Committee.

Based in Zurich, he will lead AXIS’s $2.2 billion reinsurance business and will become a member of the Executive Committee, reporting to President and CEO Albert Benchimol.

“Steve is a remarkable talent and an accomplished and widely respected executive who stands at the forefront of an emerging generation of senior leaders in our profession,” said Mr. Benchimol.

“He is perfectly suited to be CEO of AXIS Re, bringing breadth and depth of experience on a global scale and a client-centric mentality that matches our culture.”

The company also announced that AXIS Re Interim CEO Jan Ekberg will resume his previous role as President and Chief Underwriting Officer of AXIS Re Europe when Mr. Arora takes up his new role in January 2018.

QIC reports 16% growth in premiums
Qatar Insurance Company (QIC) has reported a 16% growth in gross written premiums (GWP) to $2.46 billion in the first nine months of 2017.

QIC reported a net profit of $84 million for the first nine months of the year compared to $195 million for the same period last year.

Combined GWP for the Bermuda-domiciled reinsurance subsidiary Qatar Re, London-headquartered specialty insurer Antares, and Malta-based subsidiary QIC Europe Limited, grew by 25%.

The company said 2017 would be one of the costliest years on record for natural catastrophes. In addition, the Ogden rate adjustment had impacted UK re/insurers and the global market continued to be soft.

QIC President and Chief Executive Officer Khalifa Abdulla Turki Al Subaey said: “The financial results for the first nine months of 2017 demonstrate QIC Group’s resilience under conditions of severe market stress.

“In view of our significant global footprint and exposure as well as the ongoing diplomatic and economic concerns in the Gulf region, our financial performance is robust.

“The Group’s well-diversified franchise has proven able to tackle the challenges of the marketplace. The adverse impact of these events will be limited to our earnings, with QIC Group’s strong capital position remaining unscathed.”

Fitch maintains negative outlook on Lloyd’s
Fitch Ratings has maintained its negative outlook on the Lloyd’s of London market, Reinsurance News has reported.

The report quoted Fitch as saying that while the Mexican earthquakes, California wildfires and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria are within expected tolerances, they “place some pressure on Lloyd’s capital”.

It said that following a review of recent catastrophes, Fitch has affirmed Lloyd’s ratings, but the outlook remains negative.

While the capital is pressured, Fitch expects Lloyd’s to be able to recapitalize, but third quarter 2017 losses place an additional pressure on the outlook for the re/insurance market.

Fitch noted that Lloyd’s capitalization will “likely deteriorate to a level that is not in line with the current rating as a result of 3Q17 catastrophe losses,” according to the report.

Fitch expects this to be temporary and that Lloyd’s will restore its capitalization rates to a level commensurate with the rating as part of the ‘coming into line’ process that closes before end-2017.