Daily Willis Review | 01 May 2018

Daily Willis Review | 1 May 2018
  • Current reinsurance market unsustainable, say executives
  • The Hartford on the lookout for acquisitions: report
  • Economic slowdown risk to U.S. insurers: Goldman Sachs
  • Swiss Re Corporate Solutions appoints new Head of UK and Ireland
Current reinsurance market unsustainable, say executives
Industry executives have told a seminar in Canada that the current reinsurance market is unsustainable, Reinsurance News has reported.

Panellists speaking at the A.M. Best Meeting of Reinsurance Officials (MORO) event in Montreal said that after assessing the impacts of the 2017 natural disasters on re/insurance market dynamics, that the industry is “just not sustainable,” according to the report.

It quoted panellist Gregg Lockhart, Director of Reinsurance at Shelter Mutual, as saying “some information was shared that over the long-run, there is still a margin in reinsurance when you look 10-15 years out, but part of that margin is being subsidised by reserve releases, and that continuance is not going to be available, that is going to be able to further subsidise the reinsurance pricing”.

The report said that with the soft market, some reinsurers would be unprofitable were it not for releasing high levels of reserves to offset poor underwriting returns.

Referring to pricing, Andreas Beckman, Chief Underwriting Officer (CUO), Director at R+V Versicherung AG, said: “Before last year’s events, the last big event was 2005, Hurricane Katrina, and since then the reinsurance market made profitable year after profitable year, which led to tremendous pressure on reinsurance pricing, and just one bad year doesn’t get the prices back where they should be.

“Where should the prices be? Again, the prices we all think should be a little higher, but it’s supply and demand.”

The Hartford on the lookout for acquisitions: report
The Hartford’s Chief Executive Officer Chris Swift has said he is looking for acquisitions in commercial lines and specialty insurance, Intelligent Insurer has reported.

“From a strategic perspective, we believe acquisitions can help build greater competitive advantages and accelerate earnings growth,” it quoted him as saying during the insurer’s first quarter results conference call.

He said a good example of this was the $1.45 billion acquisition by The Hartford last year of Aetna’s U.S. life and disability business.

The company said that acquisition enhanced its benefits distribution capabilities and accelerates its technology strategy.

Mr. Swift said the company is looking for acquisitions in the commercial lines business where it is currently building broader risk and underwriting expertise organically.

“We will consider financially accretive acquisitions that accelerate these goals,” he said.
“And to-date the deals that we have done in commercial lines have been smaller bolt-on transactions.”

Economic slowdown risk to U.S. insurers: Goldman Sachs
The asset management unit of Goldman Sachs has warned that an economic slowdown in the United States is the biggest investment risk the insurance industry has faced since the financial crisis, the Bloomberg news service has reported.

Goldman Sachs, which oversees $250 billion for the insurance industry, said inflation expectations have also risen as growing U.S. protectionism dampens prospects for growth.

“Insurers expressed a growing consensus that we are in the late stage of the U.S. credit cycle,” Goldman said in a report following a survey of 300 senior insurance executives.

“With rates expected to rise and equity valuations high, insurers are concerned with achieving adequate returns without leaving their portfolios exposed in the event of a downturn.”

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions appoints new Head of UK and Ireland
Swiss Re Corporate Solutions has announced the appointment of Jake Algar as Head of UK and Ireland, effective May 1.

Based in London, Mr. Algar will be responsible for managing the strategy, development and performance of the company in the UK and Irish corporate insurance markets.

He will also be responsible implementing the company’s primary insurance strategy and accelerating growth through the new regional hub in Manchester.

He succeeds Marc Davis, who continues with Corporate Solutions as Head of Sales, UK and Ireland.

Swiss Re said Mr. Algar has more than 15 years’ experience in the primary insurance market and has held senior positions in broker management, sales and business leadership.

“Jake is joining us at an exciting time,” said Fred Kleiterp, Chief Executive Officer of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.

“We have expanded our regional presence in the UK and are starting to lead domestic and international corporate insurance programmes.

“Continuing our momentum in delivering relevant products and services to clients and brokers locally remains our focus.”