Reinsurance rate reductions accelerate in June renewals: JLT Re


Reinsurance broking and consultancy provider JLT Re said that the reinsurance rate decline accelerated in the 1 June 2017 renewal, falling for the sixth consecutive year.

Pricing for Florida business is now approximately 40 percent down on 2012 levels, according to the company.

JLT Re’s Risk-Adjusted Florida Property-Catastrophe Rate-on-Line (ROL) Index fell by 5.1 percent this year, a greater average reduction than last year’s 3.1 percent decrease, the company said in a statement.

Excess capacity and strong competition amongst traditional and insurance-linked securities (ILS) markets, particularly for some of the more sought after placements, were once again instrumental in driving rates down, the company said. Specifically, renewed vigour by ILS markets to deploy capital was notable this year as they looked to increase participations, particularly with stronger performing cedants. Losses from Hurricane Matthew had little bearing on renewals, even for cedants whose lower layers were impacted.

Bob Betz, executive vice president, JLT Re in North America, said: “While the pace of average rate reductions accelerated at 1 June 2017 compared to last year, the results were very much determined by cedant size and performance. After a difficult 18 months for the Florida insurance market, where attritional losses and mounting litigation related to assignment of benefits (AOB) claims contributed to approximately 40 percent of state insurers suffering underwriting losses in the first quarter of this year, smaller companies with capital surplus of less than $25 million in particular have come under increased rating agency pressure. At a time when markets are focusing on performance, these carriers generally saw less favourable outcomes in both price and reduced line size.”

Betz continued: “More intense competition for cedants with a stronger track record saw risk-adjusted pricing typically fall within a range of flat to down 10 percent at 1 June 2017. But even here, results were often layer specific, reflecting historical performance, loss activity and terms and conditions.”

The latest rate decrease means pricing for Florida business is now approximately 40 percent down on 2012 levels and only 10 percent above the previous cyclical low of 1999/2000. Despite this, and some reinsurers experiencing deteriorating underwriting performances in the first quarter of 2017 due to significant reserve charges following changes to the Ogden discount rate in the UK and a number of global weather-related events (including a series of localised US convective storm events and Cyclone Debbie’s landfall in Australia), excess supply and relatively muted demand at 1 June 2017 prevailed in offsetting these factors.

The reinsurance market in Florida is supported heavily by retrocession cover, and pricing levels here were also down at 1 June 2017. An abundance of capacity, along with a lack of significant losses (recent catastrophes such as the Fort McMurray wildfires and Hurricane Matthew had a limited impact on retrocession programmes), meant rates for retrocession placements typically fell by mid-single digit percentages on a risk-adjusted basis.

JLT Re, Renewals, ILS, Catastrophe, North America

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