23 October 2017 Insurance

In Baden-Baden to negotiate—and drink beer

Negotiations at this year’s Baden-Baden reinsurance conference might be much more lively than in previous years as cedants, reinsurers and brokers attempt to make sense of the impact of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and how they should respond when it comes to rates.

Coming after many years of death by a thousand cuts (aka the ever-softening market) several high-profile reinsurers speaking at another industry conference stateside said words to the effect that they were “ready for the fight which they would relish” and that they “felt energised by the prospect of real negotiations for the first time in years”.

Perhaps things are not yet quite as lively in Europe. While 30 percent of responders to an online survey conducted by Intelligent Insurer ahead of Baden-Baden said they were there to negotiate with clients in relation to the year-end renewals, a much higher percentage (42 percent) said they wanted to reaffirm relationships with existing clients in a relaxed environment.

In this first group, there was clearly some expectancy above and beyond recent years. “It will be an interesting few days; the market has changed and there is an expectation that rates will rise in some areas. But we might see many cedants with no link to US wind risks really resist this,” one respondent said.

Others were clearly less inclined to make this renewal season special. “I love Baden in the autumn with the German beer, traditional food and casino,” one said. “We don’t negotiate there. It is about reaffirming relationships.”

Others (28 percent) said the conference is all about business development, saying they attend to meet new people and seek new clients. “For me, it is THE venue to meet new people/prospective clients,” said one. “But without a proper follow-up to organise further meetings etc, it risks boiling down to an obligatory rite or, worse, just a cost factor.”

Why do you attend the Baden-Baden reinsurance conference?

To reaffirm relationships with existing clients in a relaxed environment: 42%
To negotiate with clients in relation to the year-end renewals: 30%
To meet new people and seek new clients: 28%

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