Reinsurance Sector Strongly Positioned To Deal With Record-Breaking Losses Of 2017

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Highlights

  • 2017 looks set to become the most expensive catastrophe loss year ever for the P&C sector, mostly due to the hyperactive 2017 hurricane season
  • Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria are likely to rank alongside other market-defining catastrophes, with estimates suggesting the combined insured loss could reach USD 100 billion
  • Reinsurers and insurance-linked securities (ILS) investors are on the hook for a substantial portion of this amount
  • JLT Re believes the sector’s existing capital base is sufficient to service the bulk of losses sustained so far this year

London, UK (Oct. 23, 2017) – JLT Re has launched a new Viewpoint Report – Winds of change – in the wake of the devastating triple blow hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria dealt the United States and the Caribbean during this year’s peak hurricane season. The report assesses how these events are likely to impact the reinsurance market and highlights the key differences this year compared with previous market-changing losses.

Commenting on the report, Mike Reynolds, Global CEO, JLT Re, said, “Prior to this year’s hurricane season, expectations heading into 2018 were for a softening, but moderating market. But hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria brought a decisive end to a five-year period of below-average global catastrophe losses. In fact, 2017 will be only the third year on record in which global insured catastrophe losses have exceeded USD 100 billion (along with 2005 and 2011). This is important because costly natural and man-made catastrophes have historically had a significant bearing on the market and we expect the losses of 2017 to change perceptions of risk going forward.”

David Flandro, Global Head of Analytics, JLT Re said, “After eight consecutive years of strong capital growth and lacklustre premiums, the reinsurance sector started the second half of 2017 with more capital relative to risk than at any time in recent memory (see Figure 1). Figure 2 illustrates the strong historical correlation between the sector’s excess capital ratio and global property-catastrophe pricing. Circumstances today are considerably different to previous large loss years. It must be remembered that in 2001 and 2005, for example, the sector was respectively entering and exiting the liability crisis which, all told, cost carriers hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide. This meant that the sector’s capital position was both lower and more uncertain during these years.”

Reinsurers therefore face the elevated losses of 2017 from a position of capital strength. According to JLT Re estimates, the market entered this year’s hurricane season with upwards of USD 60 billion of excess capital. Any net reduction to sector capital is expected to be manageable due to continued capital generation by major traditional players and, perhaps more importantly, sustained capital inflows from alternative sources.

Mike Reynolds continues, “How capital market investors would respond to major losses has been a constant source of speculation. 2017 could prove to be a landmark year for the future of the ILS market. Despite concerns expressed by some over investors’ long-term commitments to reinsurance, there are currently no signs of a mass exodus following these losses. Whilst a few providers may exit the market in the coming weeks and months and capital may be unable to roll over in certain instances, JLT Re continues to forecast strong alternative capacity growth over the next several years.”

David Flandro concludes, “Events over the last couple of months are a stark reminder of how quickly things can change in the world of (re)insurance. This year’s record breaking losses may impact reinsurance rates next year, particularly in loss affected regions. But perhaps more permanent features in the post-2017 environment will centre on risk perceptions and higher loss expectations for future years. Growing demand for additional reinsurance protection is already evident and JLT Re is committed to obtaining the best cover and structures available to clients in this new market environment.”

About JLT Re

JLT Re’s trusted team of 700 colleagues worldwide combines market leading expertise and proprietary analytical tools with the freedom to challenge conventions.

Deep specialist knowledge and extensive experience of both the reinsurance market and clients’ own industries and sectors enables JLT Re to ask smarter questions, innovate and deliver better results tailored to meet client needs.

JLT Re is a trading name and logo of various JLT reinsurance broking entities and divisions globally and any services provided to clients by JLT Re may be through one or more of JLT’s regulated businesses.

JLT Re is part of the Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc. For more information, visit www.JLTRe.com.

About Jardine Lloyd Thompson

Jardine Lloyd Thompson is one of the world’s leading providers of insurance, reinsurance and employee benefits related advice, brokerage and associated services. JLT’s client proposition is built upon its deep specialist knowledge, client advocacy, tailored advice and service excellence.

JLT is quoted on the London Stock Exchange and owns offices in 40 territories with more than 10,600 employees. Supported by the JLT International Network, it offers risk management and employee benefit solutions in 135 countries.

For further information about JLT, please visit our website www.jlt.com.

JLT Re is a trading name and logo of various JLT reinsurance broking entities and divisions globally and any services provided to clients by JLT Re may be through one or more of JLT’s regulated businesses.

Source: JLT Re

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