The current economic and physical climate is worrying for everyone. Even with the ability to raise rates in a hardening market, reinsurers are concerned about the future, as losses from Nat CAT continue to climb. The reinsurance meetings calendar opens this month in Monte Carlo, moves onto Baaden-Baaden in October and peaks in November with the SIRC.
Insured losses have been steadily climbing an average of 5%-7% annually over the past 20 years. While some of this can be attributed to the slowly closing protection gap, the majority of the growth is due to climate change and increasingly devastating Nat CAT events.
Top reinsurers across the world have reported large individual losses in the first half of 2023, stemming from the Türkiye and Syria earthquake, flooding in New Zealand and tropical cyclone Gabrielle.
Munich Re in a media release said the first half of 2023 is a continuation of the recent run of years with high losses. While the overall losses of $110bn were lower than those in the first half of 2022 ($120bn), they were still well above the average for the last 10 years ($98bn, inflation-adjusted). The same holds good for the insured losses of $43bn (previous year: $47bn; 10-year average for half-year losses: $34bn).
Discussing the issues
Another major reason for the severity of the losses is also due to urban planning – or lack thereof – in coastal and riverine areas, which creates a high-risk environment that is difficult to rectify. (Re)insurers have long been calling for greater climate adaptation, especially in built-up urban areas, to mitigate the losses that these regular Nat CAT events will have.
These losses have also led to the lack of capacity within the reinsurance market, causing insurers to bear more risk, and lead to further premium hikes that affect the policyholder at the end of the line. This has the worrying possibility of widening the protection gap, especially in a time of economic uncertainty.
“Impressive insurance premium growth rates in many markets driven by expanding local economies and the modest tailwind of inflation are masking stagnating insurance penetration rates,” Willis Re International chairman James Vickers told Asia Insurance Review.
“There is no quick fix but stronger partnerships with reinsurers to help develop attractive affordable policies leveraging advanced digital underwriting and distribution approaches is clearly a key to adding value to their clients or reinsurers risk seeing their role being diminished to being pure capital providers,” he said.
The wider (re)insurance industry will be gathering in Singapore in October to discuss the big topics including these issues, and hopefully, hammer out some solutions.
“At a time when insurers are facing increased risk, volatility and uncertainty, reinsurers must look for ways to partner beyond just offering capacity, including having a healthy dialogue and exchange to find new ways to facilitate growth and pursue new opportunities,” said Swiss Re CEO P&C Reinsurance Urs Baetschi.
This year’s SIRC, which will take place from 30 October to 2 November, is expected to be busier and larger than ever before. The combination of post-pandemic recovery and the need to understand how the market is changing drawing the attention of many.
Once again Asia Insurance Review (AIR) will be the official media partner of the SIRC for 2023 – with regular updates on the progress of the work of the SIRC executive committee featuring in AIR’s various media.
To coincide with the start of the SIRC, the 27th Asia Insurance Industry Awards 2023 will also be held in Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre in Singapore on the evening of 30 October 2023.
The market-leading AIR eDaily will carry news of developments on a regular basis as they happen. A