Filed Under:Markets, Commercial Lines

2013 Forecast: Top Trends, Challenges & Opportunities for Carriers & Reinsurers (Part 1)

Concerned over rates, regulation and natural catastrophes, top executives offer a cautious forecast

Eric Smith, President and CEO, Swiss Re Americas

Latin America’s growth and the potential for both our clients and the reinsurance industry is the lead story for 2013, and it will be an interesting one for many decades to come. Mexico, Columbia and Brazil are the three countries we find extremely interesting. You see a lot of big infrastructure projects, which leads to Engineering and Property covers. In all three of those countries [you can see] the emergence of the middle class, and this is driving a lot of opportunity in the insurance space.

Sean McGovern, Director, North America, General Counsel and Risk Management, Lloyd’s

In terms of growing your business in 2013, the outlook is quite bleak, I’m afraid. The rate environment remains challenging. Although some lines are seeing improvements; it remains spotty. That means it’s going to be all about the quality of your underwriting; there’s not much else to reach for. Extra challenges come in the oversupply of capital in the industry: 2012 capacity is at record levels, in spite of the industry absorbing major cats in 2011 and 2012.

Pina Albo, President, Reinsurance Division, Munich Reinsurance America Inc.

Primary carriers will continue to experience some primary rate changes, which will increase both the top line and profitability of their portfolios. The E&S market in particular is showing strong signs of improvement. However, these rate actions, while positive, do not allow the industry to cover its cost of capital.

Michael Fergang, Chief Information Officer, Grange Insurance

The amount of data that’s available to insurers is exploding. Carriers that excel at harnessing this data to shine a light on profitable paths and new opportunities will have a big advantage over carriers that struggle with the volume and breadth of information. 

Jon Hall, Executive Vice President, FM Global

From a supply-chain perspective, large, technically oriented insurance buyers have fewer places they can go that can offer the broad coverage, capacity and specialized services they need. Insurers that can understand and respond to those needs are the ones that stand to gain.

Tom Motamed, Chairman and CEO, CNA Financial

With declining investment yields, adverse catastrophe results and slowing reserve releases, 2013 will see greater emphasis on underwriting and pricing integrity. There is less room to be bold when you don’t have the yields and reserve redundancies of prior years.

Bradley Kading, President, Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers

“Growth” is not the operative word for 2013. The operative word continues to be how to earn an underwriting profit in a world of limited investment income.

Charles M. Chamness, President and CEO, NAMIC

Property & Casualty insurers, and mutual insurers in particular, have provided an economic foundation for the economy during the struggles of the past few years. As our economy continues to recover, I expect the industry to grow along with it. 

Jeff Rommel, Senior Vice President of Field Operations, Allied Insurance

The industry overall is still challenged with profitability, which has been causing additional rate actions in the marketplace. Producers are challenged with keeping customer satisfaction high—which usually takes more time in servicing and less time in selling.

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