Ahead of the Rendez-Vous de Septembre 2021, ICMIF’s Supporting Member Swiss Re has shared its view on the state of the market and possible implications for the renewals season. A key discussion point for re/insurers in the current environment will be heightened risks, driven by longer-term trends and their implications.
Swiss Re says it expects insurance market premium growth to continue, driven by increased exposures, risk awareness and evolving client needs. According to Swiss Re Institute, non-life insurance premiums are expected to be 10% higher than the pre-COVID-19 level by the end of 2021. Heightened risk trends will increase the need for insurance protection, but also require a greater focus on evaluating and modelling, and ensuring pricing is adequate for the risks taken.
Swiss Re’s Chief Executive Officer Reinsurance Moses Ojeisekhoba said: “There is a clear recognition that claims’ frequency and severity is rising as demonstrated by recent natural catastrophes or cyber incidents. This means the need for protection is growing, and the industry has important work to do in offering insurance and closing the protection gap. Swiss Re’s extensive risk knowledge and very strong capital position allow us to support our clients in their growth ambitions.”
Climate change poses the biggest long-term threat to the global economy. According to Swiss Re Institute, the world economy is set to lose up to 18% of gross domestic product from climate change by 2050 if no mitigating actions are taken. Especially the risks from secondary perils, such as floods or wildfires, are growing, also driven by urbanisation, exposing ever larger communities and assets to extreme climate events. Increased digitalisation and interconnectedness are adding to the current risk landscape, for example in the area of cyber protection.
Consequently, there is a greater need for insurance protection translating into a positive outlook for premiums as these will need to reflect increased exposures. According to Swiss Re Institute, non-life insurance premiums are expected to rise 10% above the pre-COVID-19 level by the end of 2021 to USD 6.9 trillion and surpass USD 7 trillion in 2022 for the first time ever.
While climate change is a real threat, it also poses the largest growth opportunity to the industry as major investments will be necessary. According to Swiss Re Institute, to achieve the 2030 agenda for global sustainable development, investments in the order of USD 6.9 trillion a year will be required.
Re/insurers also need to prepare for elevated inflation risks. Consumer price inflation pressure is expected to remain high in the near term and medical and wage inflationary pressures, which are particularly relevant for non-life claims inflation, are expected to build up in the medium term. In addition, the social inflation trend in the US is likely to continue, driven by a litigious environment. Pricing must reflect these trends and anticipate higher claims activity.
Swiss Re’s Group Chief Underwriting Officer Thierry Léger said: “As the risk landscape evolves and risks become more complex, there needs to be an even greater focus on evaluating and modelling these risk trends and ensuring pricing is adequate for the risks taken. Therefore, the importance of underwriting capabilities is further increasing, all the more given the persistent low interest rate environment. Accordingly, at Swiss Re we continue to focus on scientific, technology- and data-driven underwriting approach.”
Swiss Re continues to make significant investments to upgrade its data capabilities across the value chain, transforming from being a data-supported to a data-led underwriting organisation, which holistically exploits its data strengths. Data-driven insights and automated, analytics-driven processes (machine learning, natural language processing) are more comprehensive of related data points, push conformance to standards and foster an accurate, unbiased perspective on underwriting decisions. This will also be to the benefit of Swiss Re’s clients.
The Group’s continuous investments in technology and data is also an important component of Swiss Re’s Solutions approach – the foundation for offering clients help to manage existing and emerging risks. As some of the loss trends mentioned before are emerging and risks are becoming more complex, primary insurers are looking for reinsurers to not only provide capital but also offer knowledge, confidence in assessing risk, and diversification.
Swiss Re’s Chief Executive Officer Reinsurance Moses Ojeisekhoba said: “We work with leading partners to address problems across the insurance value chain. We are convinced that through these partnerships and by leveraging Swiss Re’s global capabilities and experience, we are best positioned to help our clients maximise value while driving measurable impact. This way, we collectively unlock new business models across the industry, push the boundaries of insurance and reduce protection gaps.”