17 October 2017Insurance

SCOR vows to take a nuanced view on rate rises, assessing clients on a case-by-case basis

While stressing that rate increases are needed, SCOR will take a nuanced approach in how it applies any rises to clients. It will consider a book’s loss experience, current level of rates and whether a client is able to achieve rate increases on its own portfolio.

John Jenkins, P&C reinsurance treaty chief underwriting officer for the Americas at SCOR, said that he feels there is an almost unanimous understanding on the part of insurers, brokers and reinsurers that increases are needed. But he believes that to apply rate hikes indiscriminately across the board would be a mistake.

“We will probably draw a line in the sand on no more decreases, but whether rates on a treaty will remain flat or see big increases will depend on the nature of each client’s portfolio,” Jenkins said.

“We will talk to clients. If a client’s portfolio has performed well, has not been hit by losses and rates are adequate, we will not be seeking increases. That is a sure way to lose business.

“Instead, we will work with clients, dig into their portfolios and make the right decision for them.”

He added that he is looking forward to these negotiations with clients. “It has been a pretty dry conversation in the last few years but, while there is angst in the market, people are also energised. You earn your keep as an underwriting in this environment.”

The reaction of third party capital to the recent losses will also play an important role in determining the extent to which rates might rise, he said. But he thinks, especially given that this segment of the market has so much capital trapped in structures while claims are calculated, that these investors will be seeking healthy rate increases to compensate for it.

“They will want a better return than if they were just rolling the same capital over,” he said. “Their reaction will have an influence on rates, especially in catastrophe business.”

SCOR has enjoyed a steep growth trajectory in the US in recent years—around 20 percent a year in recent years. Its market share in the US on the P&C side is much lower than in most other parts of the world, so it has targeted the region and has enjoyed a good reception from cedants.

Jenkins said that SCOR’s aim is to become a top five player in the US market on the P&C side; it is currently around 11th. On the life side, it is number one. While its growth trajectory had dipped a little in 2017, he believes potential rate increases in the market will now help boost its growth prospects further.

“It has been a win-win for us and for cedants in the US. We have a very strong brand in the rest of the world and an A+ rating, and new clients will have no reinsurance recoverables with SCOR. That makes us an attractive proposition,” he said.

“Our growth had probably dipped into the single digits after a few very strong years but we expect that to accelerate again now.”

He said SCOR is targeting national insurers to work with. While the SCOR group has strong relationships with international insurers and its US arm has good penetration into regional or niche players, something of a gap exists in its US client base between these two extremes.

“We are identifying clients we want to work with and seeking growth in that way,” Jenkins concluded.

Get the latest re/insurance news sent to your inbox every day -  Sign up to our free email newsletters

Other stories from today's PCI newsletter

Beazley seeks global rate hikes of 5 to 10% for renewals

Risk-based pricing is best way to manage the burden of flood losses

Insurtech firms become MGAs out of frustration

Alternative thinking: the historic rise of ILS

Cat losses demonstrate value and resilience of industry

ILS capacity demystified for US cedants

2017 insured losses could total $100 billion: RMS

Expert support for catastrophe and exposure management

Cedants: how much coverage to buy?

Insurers need to reach for the cloud

Firms grasp importance of data assets, yet don’t insure risk

Anticipate change and innovate: Sampson

RAA highlights growth opportunities at PCI

Wildfires among the costliest on record

PCI unveils new officers to board of governors

Technology should mean evolution

$93bn premium forecast in US homeowners’ insurance

The bottom of the cycle has been reached

Sentiment is positive but headwinds challenge growth

Don't miss our insurtech email newsletter - sign up today

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Elliot Field at efield@newtonmedia.co.uk or Adrian Tapping at atapping@newtonmedia.co.uk

More on this story

26 October 2017   French reinsurer SCOR said on Oct. 26 that it posted a net loss of €267 million in the third quarter of 2017 due to the impact of natural catastrophes.
8 February 2018   French reinsurer SCOR improved risk-adjusted pricing by 3 percent at the January 2018 renewals compared to 2017.