ILS market slow to return to normal

Insurance-linked securities market declined year-on-year in Q2 2019

Arlington, VA (Aug. 7, 2019) – The insurance-linked securities (ILS) market declined year-on-year in the second quarter of 2019, with just below $1.7 billion of non-life ILS capacity issued through 11 cat bonds, down from $6.2 billion and $4.0 billion in Q2 2017 and 2018 respectively. That made the recent quarter the second-lowest second-quarter for issuance by volume in the past eight years (after 2016). The number of transactions declined less than total transaction value, according to the new ILS Market Update from Willis Re Securities, the reinsurance division of Willis Towers Watson, the leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.

As in Q1, U.S. wind-focused deals dominated, including $650 million of pure coverage for the peril issued across three cat bonds, and $1.04 billion for peak multiperil protection. Notably, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency again reinsured the National Flood Insurance Program through Floodsmart Re, which covers named-storm-related U.S. flood events with $300 million of capacity. In addition, four cat bonds were issued to provide more than $1.8 billion in cover for mortgage insurance risks.

Reported loss creep continued to affect the ILS market but at a substantially reduced rate. At the end of Q2 2018, cat bond losses arising from the 2017 HIM hurricanes, California wildfires, and the Chiapas earthquake reached an estimated $755 million, roughly 3% of the $25.1 billion of widely distributed non-life cat bond capacity outstanding before hurricane Harvey. A year later, the total 2017 loss under cat bonds reached slightly more than $1.0 billion, or 4.2%, reflecting nearly a quarter billion dollars of loss creep, and a year-on-year rise of about 40%. Much of the market has recalibrated models and thinking to accommodate loss creep, and is closely watching the commencing wind season to set the tone for the year ahead.

William Dubinsky, Managing Director & Head of ILS at Willis Re Securities, said: “Things are slowly returning to a more normal ILS environment, but relationships will still matter over the next six months if cedants are to get the protection they need at sensible pricing, terms, and conditions. The contracting ILS market required cedants to look elsewhere for capacity during the recent renewals. Those with at least some relationship-based treaties with long-established reinsurance partners on their books found it easier to plug the gaps, relative to those who buy reinsurance on a purely transactional basis. That is likely to be the case for the balance of the year at least. Both approaches have merits, however, and the ideal balance will be different for each reinsurance buyer.”

About Willis Re

One of the world’s leading reinsurance brokers, Willis Re is known for its world-class analytics capabilities, which it combines with its reinsurance expertise in a seamless, integrated offering that can help clients increase the value of their businesses. Willis Re serves the risk management and risk transfer needs of a diverse, global client base that includes all of the world’s top insurance and reinsurance carriers as well as national catastrophe schemes in many countries around the world. The broker’s global team of experts offers services and advice that can help clients make better reinsurance decisions and negotiate optimum terms.

About About Willis Re Securities

Willis Re Securities advises insurers, reinsurers, individual insureds and selected public entities on insurance and reinsurance-related capital markets products, including insurance-linked securities (ILS) and derivatives structuring and issuance, secondary trading of ILS for clients, as well as capital raising and selected M&A advisory activities. Willis Re Securities is a trade name used by Willis Securities, Inc., a licensed broker dealer authorized and regulated by FINRA and a member of SIPC (“WSI”) and Willis Towers Watson Securities Europe Limited (Registered number 2908053 and ARBN number 604 264 557), an investment business authorized and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority and exempt from the requirement to hold an Australian Financial Services License under ASIC Class Order [03/1099] (“WTW Securities Europe”). Each of WSI and WTW Securities Europe are Willis Towers Watson companies. Securities products and services are offered through WSI and WTW Securities Europe. Reinsurance products are placed through Willis Re Inc. in the United States and Willis Limited in the UK, both also Willis Towers Watson companies.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving in more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimise benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential. Learn more at

SOURCE: Willis Towers Watson

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