Corporate Insurance Buyers Preparing for Hardening P/C Market: Survey

April 17, 2012

A vast majority of corporate risk managers at U.S. companies are taking steps to prepare for a hardening property/casualty (P/C) insurance market.

Professional services company Towers Watson’s annual survey also found that while enterprise risk management (ERM) programs are in place for a majority of respondents, progress in maturing them beyond qualitative efforts have stalled.

The 2012 Risk and Finance Manager Survey found that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of survey participants are either seriously or moderately concerned over a hardening P/C insurance market. Another one-third (32 percent) expressed slight concern.

In response to this concern, companies are taking many steps to prepare. Among property respondents, nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) are now marketing their programs, while slightly fewer casualty respondents (63 percent) are doing so. Additionally, a third of property respondents are using broker-provided catastrophe modeling, while 44 percent of casualty respondents are using actuary-provided retained loss analytics, and 30 percent are using predictive modeling.

“With all signs pointing to a hardening market, actively engaging in the use of analytics is a great way for companies to prepare themselves for change,” said Steve Levene, Risk Advisory and Brokerage practice leader. “This also provides brokers with an opportunity to help their clients better see the linkage between effective analytics and preparation for a hardening market. It is a connection that was not as essential in a soft market, where coverage was more accessible and relatively inexpensive.”

The survey of 153 risk and finance managers also found only slight improvement among respondents in the implementation of ERM programs, despite pressing reasons to do so. This year, 57 percent of respondents indicated they have ERM programs in place, just slightly more than last year (54 percent).

“Despite ERM receiving more attention worldwide from regulators, policyholders and stockholders, the fact that we only witnessed a slight increase in ERM implementation clearly demonstrates that there is a disconnect between many existing ERM efforts and the value that can ultimately be derived. A lot more needs to be done to encourage companies to mature these programs beyond a qualitative or compliance focus. It is evident from our survey that more formal, thorough education about what ERM is and what it can do for companies may be needed,” said Corey Gooch, senior corporate ERM consultant.

Indeed, 40 percent of respondents said that nobody has been able to articulate the value of implementing ERM, and another 25 percent cited ERM as too resource-intensive and expensive to pursue, regardless of the value.

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