Willis Re: Reinsurance is the Only Stable Capital Available
Broker's Latest Renewals Report Shows Increased Demand for
Reinsurance as Reinsurers Defy the Downward Financial Trend
London, UK, March 31, 2009 -
The majority of reinsurers reported relatively positive
results and some underwriting profit despite poor investment returns in 2008,
outperforming the wider financial services community. As a result, the reinsurance
market stands out as the only capital market operating smoothly, with buyers able to
access large quantities of contingent capital, according to a new report from Willis
Re, the reinsurance broking arm of Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global
Titled “Conserving Capital,” Willis Re’s “1st View,” its thrice yearly reinsurance
market report, examines rate movements across numerous territories and product
classes and includes detailed analysis from Willis Re’s product line experts.
“There is no doubt that reinsurers are being squeezed by investment performance,
deteriorating Hurricane Ike losses and a growing need to increase prior year casualty
reserves,” said Peter C. Hearn, CEO, Willis Re. “These pressures are also
compounded by the extreme volatility of currency rates of exchange. However,
despite these challenges, the increased demand for reinsurance which started at
January 1 renewals, continues strongly to April 1 renewals and shows no signs of
Among the other key findings of the report are:
- Access to fresh capital remains limited mainly to Lloyd’s, which has outperformed in
previous months and has access to a wider range of investors, including capital from
- The Catastrophe Bond Market, which stalled following the collapse of Lehman
Brothers, has adjusted its product and reopened.
- Buyers are seeking diversification in their reinsurer counterparties, but capacity and
price continue to play key roles in buyer decision-making.
- In some niche markets, where exposures are particularly challenging, such as Gulf
of Mexico, there are signs that some clients are opting to drop cover, but as of
January 1, a reasonable balance between affordability and coverage seems to be
prevailing in the main.
To read the report in full, please go to:
Willis Group Holdings Limited is a leading global insurance broker, developing and
delivering professional insurance, reinsurance, risk management, financial and
human resource consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public entities and
institutions around the world. Willis has more than 400 offices in nearly 120
countries, with a global team of approximately 20,000 Associates serving clients in
some 190 countries. Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.
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