Twenty-five years ago in August, Hurricane Andrew shook up the property/casualty insurance and reinsurance markets, analysts from Assured Research noted in two recent research reports recognizing the important anniversary.
One of those reports reveals the names of top carriers from that bygone era and how that list has dramatically changed.
In a one-page research note, analysts William Wilt and Alan Zimmermann described Andrew as a “game changer,” recalling the date that the storm made landfall in Florida back in 1992.
“In our view, a true game changer is one that causes both insureds and insurers to reconsider their view of risk,” they wrote, going on to list five aspects of the market that have changed in the intervening years. Among them is the development of the catastrophe modeling business and the boost that existing reinsurers gave to the development of Bermuda cat specialist reinsurers—competitors that would ultimately weaken “the quasi-monopolistic position” the major reinsurers had enjoyed until that time.
In a separate research note published a week earlier, the two analysts reviewed the changes in the primary insurance market since Andrew—compiling lists of the top 25 carrier groups in 1991 and in 2016.
The key finding: 12 companies have fallen off the list.
Replacing names like Aetna, ranked as the fifth-largest P/C insurer in 1991, and 12th-ranked CIGNA are names like Berkshire Hathaway, Progressive and Tokio Marine.
Commanding a second-place ranking in 2016, Berkshire Hathaway rose onto the list through acquisitions and the rapid growth of GEICO in the personal auto business. Acquisitions also vaulted Tokio Marine into 14th place in 2016 and explained the moves of Alleghany, Fairfax Financial and Munich Re onto the list, the analysts reported.
Almost all the acquirers had a major reinsurer among its acquisitions: General Re for Berkshire, Transatlantic Re for Alleghany, Odyssey Re for Fairfax and American Re for Munich.
What happened to Aetna, CIGNA, Continental Insurance, Kemper National, Fireman’s Fund, St. Paul and six others that dropped out of the top rankings?
A change of direction explains the absence of Aetna and CIGNA. Both chose to become managed care companies in the 1990s, Wilt and Zimmermann report, recounting the sales of their P/C businesses to Travelers and ACE, which is now Chubb.
Travelers (ranked 10th in 1991) and Chubb (ranked 18th in 1991) are still on the top 25 list. How far did they move since 1991, and who else is still on the list?
Thirteen insurers ranked in the top 25 in 1991 remained on the list in 2016, the Assured Research Briefing shows, using information from A.M. Best, S&P Global Market Intelligence (SNL) and Assured Research. More details from the full report are available from Assured Research.
In addition to a look at the top 25 then and now, the August 17 research report also includes a look at the P/C insurance industry’s expense problem, a quantification of the “Trump Effect” on workers compensation premiums and an updated analysis of the industrywide reserve deficiency for asbestos liabilities.