Risk Management Solutions’ revised catastrophe model, which is frequently cited as a reason for recent rate increases for some property risks, was a hot topic at the National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices convention, held in San Diego Oct. 10-12.
So we decided to ask some attendees: How are brokers and insureds handling the news that premiums are going up, in part due to a model revision?
“Not well at all,” said Judy Patterson, a property underwriter at specialty-insurer Beazley.
She added, “In some areas, Florida for example, insureds and [producers] have a little bit of model fatigue. They’ve been through a number of model changes.”
Patterson noted, however, that the new model is having a significant impact in Texas and along the Gulf Coast, where insureds and producers have not historically paid as much attention to the models as have those in Florida. “That is where it’s really having an impact right now, because it’s kind of new to them.”
Patterson revealed that she recently came from a meeting with a Texas broker who told her, “I don’t want to talk about [the new model] again!” Her reaction? “I felt sorry, but that’s the reality of where we are right now.”
The model, RMS Version 11.0, makes adjustments to the impact of wind during a hurricane, putting more risk inland.
Patterson believes Beazley has a good understanding of the changes in the model, and she says the changes agree with Beazley’s experiences from Hurricane Ike. “Our personal experience during that cat echoes some of the changes RMS is making as far as extending the wind fields farther inland.”
Of Beazley and the new model change, Patterson said, “We have adopted RMS Version 11.0. I know there are some carriers using blended models, or trying to, in some ways, temper the impact.
“But we buy a lot of catastrophe reinsurance, and we’re going to pay for our reinsurance based on Version 11 results. So I don’t think we have any choice but to adopt it. It’s going to dictate reinsurance availability and reinsurance pricing.”
Chris Treanor, president of Preferred Concepts, a national program administrator and specialty broker, observed that the market is “less spooked” now by the new model than when it was first released.
“Six months ago, I would have said it would have a huge impact, but that hasn’t played out,” Treanor said. “The industry has not blindly accepted it.”
While the market is reacting to the model by reevaluating (and possibility shedding) exposure, this has not yet led to an influx of new business to the specialty arena, he added—although he noted that could change during the 2012 first quarter, when new treaties are signed.