Best Reports Reinsurers See Orderly, but Soft, January Renewals

January renewals showed signs of softening as reinsurers benefited from improved financial markets plus a lack of natural catastrophe claims in 2009, according to the latest issue of BestWeek U.S./Canada.

The three largest global reinsurance brokers — Aon Benfield, Guy Carpenter & Co., and Willis Re — said they all saw a drop in overall January renewal rates. Aon Benfield found that rate decreases (adjusted for changes in exposure) for peak zones of U.S. hurricane and U.S. earthquake risk ranged from a -5 to a -15 percent, according to its January “Reinsurance Market Outlook.” Guy Carpenter reported similar trends last week [See IJ web site – ].

A companion analysis in BestWeek Europe also analyzed renewal reports from major brokers. Best concluded that the January 1 reinsurance renewals also showed “softness.” Best noted that “reinsurance rates in Europe and the United Kingdom, in particular, are flat to falling overall, even though Windstorm Klaus proved to be the costliest natural catastrophe worldwide last year, and bank and business failures were thought to have been sufficient to put pressure on professional lines.”

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Source: A.M. Best –