Skip to main content
Press Release

Global reinsurance approaching equilibrium: Willis Re 1st View

Reinsurance|Insurance Linked Securities
COVID 19 Coronavirus|Insurer Solutions

July 1, 2021

GLOBAL, July 1, 2021 – Reinsurance rate increases continued for most major lines and territories during the 1.6 and 1.7 renewal period; however, in many cases reinsurers had to accept firm order terms below their initial quotes. That indicates that the market is approaching equilibrium, 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.

Reinsurers’ good Q1 results, generally low catastrophe losses, rising underlying reinsured premium volumes, positive investment trends, and the strong economic recovery from COVID-19-related economic pressures together moderated rate increases, despite reinsurers’ best efforts to maintain pricing momentum. Capacity overall remained more than sufficient to meet demand, but reinsurers resisted the temptation to compete for top-line revenue, so capacity for poorly performing classes was constrained.

Concerns over inflation and COVID-19 relates loss developments had no impact on pricing with flat or modestly rising rates for property renewals. Casualty risks saw less consistent changes to pricing and coverage, although the overall gentle upwards trend was similar. An exception was ceding commissions, which responded more directly to changes in the underlying rates and terms and conditions.

Momentum continued in the catastrophe bond market, which saw around US$6 billion of new issues in the second quarter of 2021, outstripping all new cat bond capacity issued in 2019. Significant investment inflows have narrowed margins and encouraged new cat-bond cedants.

Reinsurers, backed by resilient investors delivering an increasing capital base, are robust and well positioned to provide the long-term support their clients expect and need.”

James Kent | Global CEO of Willis Re

James Kent, Global CEO of Willis Re, said: “The global reinsurance market is moving towards an equilibrium. Reinsurers, backed by resilient investors delivering an increasing capital base, are robust and well positioned to provide the long-term support their clients expect and need. These clients recognise the value of a stable and broad reinsurance marketplace, so have continued to grant rate increases in most instances. However, we are approaching the top of a cycle which we believe is unlikely to precede a precipitous and damaging decline in rates. Instead, the market is likely to retain its discipline in order to maintain the balance it has achieved over the past couple of years especially with the full picture of losses from COVID-19 and prior year liability lines still to emerge.”

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.

Contact Us