Are the riches of a hard market just fool's gold?


Are the riches of a hard market just fool's gold?

Say its name too loud and it might disappear—the onset of a hard market has been whispered about for some 12 months. Even if rates are hardening, is the industry clutching at straws when underlying exposures also seem to be increasing, and with so much capacity waiting in the wings? Intelligent Insurer investigates.

“Rates have increased but only to the level they were three to four years ago—when they were completely inadequate. If they manage to creep up a little more, we will simply see more capital pile in. I don’t know why the industry seems so positive at the moment.”

That is how one disillusioned chief executive of a re/insurer vented his feelings at a roundtable held by sister publication Bermuda:Re+ILS on Bermuda recently. He stressed that although there were indeed rate increases, outside the severely cat-hit zones of Florida and some other states they were limited.

This seems at odds with the sentiment in much of the industry at present—certainly in the corporate reports and statements of reinsurers commenting on rates and market conditions. After so many years of rates softening, perhaps reinsurers are just relieved that the tide has turned at all.

Insurance, Reinsurance, Rates, Swiss Re, Munich Re, Renewals, Willis Re, James Kent, VIG Re, Lloyd's, Hard market, Brexit, Capacity, Global

Intelligent Insurer