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Press Release

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

Reinsurance|Insurance Linked Securities
COVID 19 Coronavirus|Insurer Solutions

April 1, 2021

GLOBAL, April 1, 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 Willis Re, the reinsurance division of Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.

Despite above-average insured natural catastrophe losses in 2020, most property catastrophe excess of loss programs renewing at 1 April delivered a largely loss-free year. Some property per-risk programs were impacted by the worsening frequency and severity of non-catastrophe losses, which led to pricing increases and program 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.

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.”

James Kent | Global CEO, Willis Re

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.

About Willis Re

One of the world's leading reinsurance brokers, Willis Re is known for its world-class analytics capabilities, which it combines with its reinsurance expertise in a seamless, integrated offering that can help clients increase the value of their businesses. Willis Re serves the risk management and risk transfer needs of a diverse, global client base that includes all of the world's top insurance and reinsurance carriers as well as national catastrophe schemes in many countries around the world. The broker's global team of experts offers services and advice that can help clients make better reinsurance decisions and negotiate optimum terms. For more information, visit

About Willis Towers Watson Securities

Willis Re Securities, with offices in New York and London, provides capital markets services and products to companies involved in the insurance and reinsurance industry including acting as underwriter or agent for primary insurance-linked securities issuances, operating a secondary insurance-linked securities trading desk and engaging in strategic advisory work. Willis Re Securities is a trade name used by Willis Securities, Inc., a licensed broker dealer authorized and regulated by FINRA and a member of SIPC, Willis Towers Watson Securities Europe Limited (Registered number 2908053 and ARBN number 604 264 557), an investment business authorized and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has over 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas – the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

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