AM Best Revises Outlook for Global Reinsurance Industry to Positive

AM Best has revised its market segment outlook for the global reinsurance segment to positive from stable, citing robust profit margins along with higher attachment points and tighter terms and conditions that followed a period of drastic repricing.

Source: AM Best | Published on June 10, 2024

Reinsurance industry outlook positive

AM Best has revised its market segment outlook for the global reinsurance segment to positive from stable, citing robust profit margins along with higher attachment points and tighter terms and conditions that followed a period of drastic repricing.

Despite reinsurance rate increases decelerating, underwriting discipline is being maintained and profit margins remain healthy enough to absorb higher loss activity than recently experienced, according to the newly issued Best’s Market Segment Outlook.

“Demand for coverage remains strong due to heightened natural catastrophe loss activity and general economic uncertainty,” said Carlos Wong-Fupuy, senior director, AM Best. “We also considered the expectations of a slower reduction in interest rates than originally anticipated, which are likely to support strong returns in the short term.”

The report also notes recently improved and stabilized underwriting margins followed a string of disappointing results in the years after heavy weather-related losses in 2017 (notably Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria). Repricing efforts were compounded by various actions aimed at tightening terms and conditions, with a diminished appetite for aggregate protection, focus on named perils, shift from proportional to excess of loss covers, and a sharp increase in attachment points, according to the report.

Reinsurance books for the largest players continue to expand owing to a combination of higher reinsurance rates, flight to quality and increased demand. While loss ratios during the first quarter of 2024 were impacted by large losses, including the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, underwriting margins and annualized ROEs remain strong.

“AM Best believes that the exceptional returns on equity experienced in 2023 are unlikely to be repeated at such a high level, but expects reinsurers to focus on underwriting discipline in the near term,” Wong-Fupuy said.

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