More of the same for 1 April reinsurance renewals: Willis Re 1st View

1 April 2021

Willis Re 1st View - April 2021

International reinsurance renewals completed for 1 April 2021 followed trends set earlier in the season, as market pricing remained firm in virtually all classes and territories. Capacity was adequate across the board, and no substantive changes took place in negotiations over exclusionary language, according to the latest 1st View renewals report from ICMIF Supporting Member Willis Re, the reinsurance division of Willis Towers Watson.

Despite above-average insured natural catastrophe losses in 2020, most property catastrophe excess of loss programmes renewing at 1 April delivered a largely loss-free year. Some property per-risk programmes were impacted by the worsening frequency and severity of non-catastrophe losses, which led to pricing increases and programme restructuring. Aggregate covers particularly saw greater focus on structure than on price, as reinsurers worked to distance these accounts from attritional losses. Long-tail lines, and particularly casualty excess of loss, faced increased pricing pressure from reinsurers coping with low investment returns.

Pandemic and silent cyber exclusionary language followed the approach set at 1 January, through a combination of standard clauses and, from some reinsurers, customised language written to align with original policy wordings.

Demand from insurance-linked securities (ILS) investors proved strong, particularly for capacity made available through publicly traded bonds, which helped to moderate overall price increases.

James Kent, Global CEO of Willis Re, said: “The market landscape has not seen much change since 1 January and consequently the important 1 April renewals saw more of the same between reinsurers and their customers. Market results for 2020 illustrate the challenges faced by the global reinsurance sector of reduced investment income, declining prior-year reserve releases, rising COVID-19 loss reserving, and increased volatility in the frequency and severity both of natural catastrophes and man-made losses. However, reinsurers’ 2020 results, when adjusted for COVID-19 claims reserves, have shown encouraging improvements in underlying combined ratios and buyers’ immediate concerns over capacity availability and pricing have been allayed leading to an orderly renewal.”

Download the full report: The Willis Re 1st View report is a thrice-yearly publication including specific commentary on key trends throughout the world’s major reinsurance classes and regions.


For member-only strategic content on the cooperative/mutual insurance sector, ICMIF members have exclusive access to a range of online resources through the ICMIF Knowledge Hub.

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