The London Market Group (LMG) and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) recently published a report on the London Market, which provides a useful overview of some of the relative scales and characteristics of the world’s (re)insurance markets, as well as hinting at issues and themes that are likely to become more important in the future for all market participants.
From the point of view of Bermuda, it is worth noting that, while in primary commercial insurance, the London Market is almost four times as large as Bermuda with 2013 GWP of GBP 30.5BN equivalent (vs. GBP 8.5BN); in reinsurance, Bermuda is larger than London, at GBP 16.1BN vs. GBP 14.6BN, which is remarkable when one considers the relative scale of the resources committed and available in each market.
However, the more interesting component of the report is perhaps its comparative analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s key insurance markets, which it considers to be London, Switzerland, Hong Kong, New York, Bermuda, Singapore and Dubai in ranked order. While one could certainly detect an element of self-promotion, it is worth noting that the report asserts that Bermuda is weaker than average in terms of access to market, pricing and speed of placement; but better than average in terms of product and risk expertise, ability to generate capacity quickly, and speed and willingness to pay claims. Frankly, from the point of view of Insureds, it seem to us that Bermuda’s advantages outweigh the supposed disadvantages. It is also worth noting that London’s expense ratios were 9% above that of its peers; something which, in an increasingly price-competitive market has to be cause for concern, as well as raise questions as to how it can be addressed.
As we have written before, the “traditional” (re)insurance market faces a number of threats; and, in this regard, the report is useful for enumerating some of the more important ones, which not only affect London Market participants, but all markets:
- Increasing mobility and local availability of underwriting expertise
- Use of data and analytics in underwriting decisions
- Emergence of new risks for which insurance solutions are not yet available
- A growing protection gap in NatCAT
- Higher growth, emerging markets as a key source of premium growth
- A superabundance of capital and increasing securitization of insurance risk
- Technological impacts on supply chains and often antiquated insurance infrastructures.
To the Awbury team none of this is surprising; and we devote considerable effort to ensuring that not only do we stay on top of market changes and developments; but that we can continue to deliver capacity in whatever size is needed across all major markets through our extensive network of highly-rated (re)insurance partners, as well as focusing on the E-CAT market, which is not commoditized, nor correlated with the more traditional markets such as NatCAT.
-The Awbury Team