Willis Survey: Hard Market for Financial Institutions Insurance Shows Signs of Softening in 2010
London, UK, December 14, 2009 - The hard market for financial institutions (FI) insurance, which has seen
insurers push premiums up at renewal by a minimum of 10 to 15 percent, is unlikely
to last until the end of 2010, according to the latest Willis FI Index from Willis
Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance broker.
Willis’ fourth quarter FI market update, published by FINEX Global, the broker’s London-based Financial, Executive Risk and
Professional Liability business, finds that while insurers are still concerned about their 2007 and 2008 loss
ratios and are, at present, underwriting very conservatively, the expected influx of new markets for 2010
will help to generate more favorable trading conditions for clients.
Duncan Holmes, Managing Director of FINEX Professional Risks, said, “The question that everyone wants to get an
answer to is how long will these conditions last? To generate the environment necessary for a
‘softer’ market, there needs to be both an excess of capacity and a willingness from insurers
to compete for business. We are going to see new capacity enter the market in 2010,
but at the moment, most financial institutions insurers are committing their capacity with great care and
caution and will continue to do so until they have confidence that the amount of new
losses is going to fall considerably, and stay at a lower level. The current state of
affairs cannot last forever and at some point in 2010 we expect confidence levels to increase”
Other findings of the report include:
- FI clients may see premium spikes at the beginning of 2010 as insurers seek to share the
pain of expensive reinsurance renewals, with some reinsurers experiencing loss ratios of up to 300 percent
over the last two years.
- The average premium change at renewal from September 2008 to September 2009
has more than doubled from 10 percent to more than 20 percent.
- Willis predicts that some
green shoots may emerge in the small- to medium-sized financial institutions sector, where those with claim-free
histories will drive competition between insurers, resulting in premium reductions.
The Index also assesses different methods for the placement of insurance covers in the wake of the
financial crisis, and focuses on the EU Competition Directorate that has been reviewing the subscription method
of placing the larger and more complex insurance and co-insurance policies, especially in the London market.
To read the full text of the Willis FI Index report, click here.
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.