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Archived stories from 2012

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Rating agency spells out what you already know

There are signs of possible glimmers of light at the end of the underwriting tunnel for the global reinsurance markets after centuries of soft markets, pitiful investment returns, biblical catastrophe activity, and less than zero investor interest, A. B. Waite & Sea has reported in its annual renewal outlook.

?Reinsurance bosses can put away their pills and cancel that trip to the Dignitas euthanasia clinic,? ratings agency analyst Bob Notches laughed as he launched the special report on the reinsurance industry.

To the sound of journalists putting away their notebooks, Notches said the general consensus after the June and July renewals was that pricing for U.S. Catastrophe business would soon be soaring by 1% to 1.5%.

Catastrophe losses have been estimated as high as $600 trillion for the first half of 2011 which have gnawed into last January?s capital position, Notches smiled. Added pressure is coming from the widespread panic and confusion created by cat model revisions. The new models revised property PMLs up by 4,500%.

?Companies are praying to their gods for an improvement in property cat pricing at the January 2012 renewal,? Notches grinned. ?Some are even hoping this potential hardening will spread to other lines, even casualty. I mean really!?

Notches? report said that a millennium of soft market conditions and depressed valuations means that the industry is unlikely to ever see another merger, acquisition or start-up ? unless the cycle turns.

But A. B. Waite & Sea has revised its ratings for the reinsurance sector up from ?terminal? to ?unstable? as it believes recent catastrophe losses have created sufficient momentum for reinsurance rates to solidify to what it described as firm-ish.

?Following the worst goddam quarter for natural catastrophes since they were real bad a while back, reinsurers are warning brokers and cedants that they had better watch out because they are seriously considering not reducing their rates very much further in the near to middle term,? Notches giggled, as reporters checked to see if their watches were still working.

Capacity is ample at the moment but sentiment is in short supply, Notches said. ?Reinsurers are keenly aware of the effect a major event or three could have on their balance sheets, it?s just that no-one else cares,? Notches joked.

Other news from Jan 2012
Travelating the Wave of Insurability
the serious stuff
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