Reinsurance placements at Jan. 1, 2019 highlight a pricing gap between accounts with peak peril exposures, or poor loss records, and the rest, with many reinsurers placing emphasis on the quality of client counterparties, according to the latest 1st View renewals report from Willis Re.

A two-track trend has been especially evident in property-catastrophe renewals, where cedents with good loss records and a disciplined, early renewal process achieved risk-adjusted rate reductions, while loss affected accounts and clients viewed as of lesser quality are seeing upward pricing across a number of lines.

The insurance-linked securities (ILS) market faces a more comprehensive test in the absence of a major pricing uptick following significant loss erosion for some funds in both 2017 and 2018, said the Willis Re report.

Some funds are challenged in attracting new investors, and those with long-standing and successful track records, consistent and well-regarded management teams, and flexible trust language or fronting agreements are the ones best equipped for success, the report continued.

Adjustments to business models initiated over the year have taken on an increased urgency, including the well-documented changes within the Lloyd’s market, said the report, noting that, as a result, some primary lines are seeing significantly larger rate increases than treaty reinsurance business.

Willis Re said that reinsurers have benefited from increases in premium ceded by large carriers, notably through large new pro rata cessions where terms have slightly tilted in reinsurers’ favor. At the same time, major reinsurers’ strength and client-centric flexibility remain key to large cedents’ goal of dampening earnings volatility.

“In the immediate aftermath of the 2017 catastrophe losses, many observers felt the measured reaction of the reinsurance market was a clear sign of a changing structure and maturity,” said James Kent, global CEO, Willis Re.

“Others more cautiously suggested time was needed to properly assess the impact of 2017 events,” he added. “In the wake of the high loss activity during the second half of 2018, early renewal negotiations have proved prudent, while pricing in the primary market has given reinsurers some cause for optimism in light of the increased pro rata cessions from clients.”

Source: Willis Re