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Survey Report

Firming reinsurance landscape: Willis Re 1st View

January 2021 

Reinsurance|Insurance Linked Securities
COVID 19 Coronavirus|Insurer Solutions

January 4, 2021

Despite the impact of COVID-19 both on working conditions and exposures, reinsurers have largely arrested the persistent downward trends which characterized recent years.

Issued three times a year, this publication delivers the very first view on current market conditions within the reinsurance industry, covering the changes in pricing levels and conditions experienced by Willis Re brokers and product experts.

Key findings

  • Despite the impact of COVID-19 both on working conditions and exposures, reinsurers have largely arrested the persistent downward trends which characterized recent years.
  • Improving investment markets, retained earnings and newly raised capital helped global reinsurance capital levels to recover rapidly during 2020, ending the year 3% higher than at year-end 2019.
  • Property retrocession capacity remained limited, but not to the extent many expected, particularly as some ILS funds increased their assets under management, traditional reinsurers offered new or additional limit, and some buyers sought to acquire less cover.
  • Emerging COVID-19 losses, often advised only late in the renewal process or yet to be advised, triggered technical discussions of primary policy coverage and reinsurance treaty wordings. Both remain in the early stages of deliberation, so most programs renewed without considering any potential COVID-19 losses, leaving time for more measured discussions and subsequent adjustments.
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