Insight and Intelligence on (Re)insurance Convergence with the Capital Markets

28 May 2017

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Trading Risk Monte Carlo Roundtable 2016

30 September 2016

2016 marked the 60th anniversary of the Monte Carlo Rendez-Vous, and an extraordinarily humid conference for delegates rushing from meetings at the Café de Paris to the Hermitage.

The oppressive weather may have felt redolent of market conditions facing underwriters and brokers, as reinsurance results continue to be weighed down by stalled investment markets and softening rates.

The humidity did not break during the four-day event, perhaps a portent of pressure ahead at the 1 January renewal season where the only point up for negotiation appears to be whether single-digit rate reductions are near enough to pass for a flat outcome.

But the panellists at our Trading Risk roundtable sounded relatively relaxed about the challenges ahead, as they look to get in behind any pick-up in the prevailing winds.

Flexibility was perhaps one of the keywords of the debate, as the market attempts to find new ways of appealing to buyers without relaxing conditions too far.

One of the themes of the year for the alternative reinsurance sector has been the shrinking cat bond market, as some sponsors - including the larger European primary carriers - let their ILS transactions elapse and replaced them with traditional cover.

But the roundtable participants were confident that this was merely a cyclical slowdown, and that softening rates would in time draw deals back to the market. One panellist described the market as fulfilling the role of "accordion capital" - an apt simile given the Riviera coastline setting.

Meanwhile, brokers and buyers often argue that lower minimum rate hurdles could prompt demand for peak cover to billow out.

Guy Carpenter's David Priebe said that being able to source all-perils US reinsurance at rates-on-line below 3 percent would unlock "significant capacity".

"There is probably $10bn of new demand out there - a major opportunity for the capital markets to step in and fill the void," he said.

From the investor side of the discussion, it seemed that long-term requirements are not that far off this level - with few other alternatives to attract capital in the current markets.

So, the path was laid for a meeting of minds, as our panellists gathered in the relative comfort of an air-conditioned Monte Carlo hotel... I trust you will enjoy the read!

To read the Trading Risk Monte Carlo Roundtable for 2016 please click here .

Fiona Robertson

Editor,

Trading Risk

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