Willis: Energy market stable but fragile
London, UK, April 17, 2012 - The energy market recorded its worst ever year for non-windstorm related
losses in 2011 with close to USD 9 billion in combined insured and uninsured total losses
according to Willis Energy, a unit of Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance broker.
The latest Willis Energy Market Review shows that, discounting windstorm losses, 2011 was the worst year
in recent memory for the energy market following unusually large losses in the Canadian Oil Sands
and FPSO sectors.
Energy market capacity continued to increase in 2011 as capital providers sought more stable returns in the
volatile global economy. Theoretical upstream and downstream capacity increased by over 10% from 2010.
However, underwriters are deploying this capital selectively and showing greater differentiation in favour of the most attractive
The correlation between capacity and rates in the energy market has weakened markedly in recent years, with
a significant increase in overall capacity failing to lead to a further decline in rates. Modest
rating increases were the norm on upstream business at recent renewals, while the downstream market remains
effectively flat, albeit with average rates at their lowest ebb for a number of years.
Alistair Rivers, Chief Executive Officer, Willis Global Energy, commented:
“Conditions in the energy insurance market are stable but fragile. Capacity is at a record level but
insurers are deploying it selectively due to past claims volatility.
“Insurers are differentiating even further between the risks they truly value and those they don’t due to
the recent losses or lack of underwriting information. It is vital that buyers provide as much
information as possible and differentiate their risk profiles to secure optimum terms and conditions from underwriters.
“The offshore market direction remains in the balance as insurers wait for the full picture to emerge
on the Elgin platform situation. However, if Elgin is resolved satisfactorily, there is ample opportunity for
those buyers that can continue to differentiate themselves from their peer group to obtain much more
The 2012 Energy Market Review also considers the risks associated with shale gas drilling which has come
under increased public scrutiny as the shale gas industry has migrated further and further into inhabited
areas. The study finds the insurance market is still keen to underwrite shale gas drilling risks
provided buyers can demonstrate best practice.
As with other sections of the energy market, the coverage provided and the premium charged depends on
the nature and extent of the underwriting information. This is especially the case in the Environmental
Impairment Liability arena, which offers critical protection for gradual pollution liability risks associated with the hydraulic
Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global insurance broker. Through its subsidiaries, Willis develops and delivers
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 17,000 employees serving clients in virtually every part of the
world. Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.