Many reinsurance executives have been left scratching their heads in surprise after last year’s natural catastrophes, which cost a whopping $100 billion but ended up having very little impact on rates. The insurance and reinsurance market isn’t behaving as it once did, when widespread rate increases followed major catastrophe events. Observers have started to suggest that the reinsurance cycle is dead.

Executive Summary

Leaders of global reinsurers and brokers debated the titled question at the Rendez-Vous de Septembre last month, after noting that $100 billion in natural catastrophes last year did little to move pricing.

After the hurricane losses of last year, reinsurers were expecting very sharp rate increases, “but almost nothing happened,” affirmed Denis Kessler, CEO of SCOR. “There were some rate increases, but it was extremely subdued, extremely limited to certain geographies, but so far from what we expected.”

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