Issue 55
February 2016
In this Issue
  • Data issues affect FBI, Zurich Insurance & emerging market writers
  • ROE debate and exact underwriting in down cycle
  • Credit Suisse offers "operational risk" to alternative capital
  • Insurers try to move closer to data origin
  • Roger nearly calls the global economy a "confidence game"
  • Quick Bytes: Cruise ship gets a bumpy ride; four Katrinas needed to absorb excess capacity; storms cause food delivery delays to Bermuda; young people are giving up driving

Quick Links

Princeton: +1 609-683-0888

London: +44 (0)20-7816-2691
Dear Colleague, 
CATEX has landed smack dab in the middle of the current debate about data cleansing and data formatting going on right now in insurance and reinsurance.  Our Data Vera product allows for import of data from multiple formats and quickly and automatically cleanses data, offering corrections based on your prior behavior.

Data Vera also eliminates so-called single purpose or "single template" data conversion.  Once the data is converted we can send it to any format or template you choose.  

We intend to talk about this in London on March 3rd. 
CATEX is a sponsor of the CAT Risk Management & Modelling London 2016 on March 3-4. Our presentation is on Day One. 

This month's news is, again, dominated by data. In this issue we look at several examples of problems that arose from having bad data, incomplete data or not being able to effectively manage data that was collected.

There is also a drumbeat out there that we're hearing, about the data supporting all these thousands of new risks that are supposedly going to arrive from emerging markets and are said to represent the future of the industry.

Our regular Roger Crombie column is here too.  Roger observes the issues supposedly plaguing the global economy and, surprise, it turns out that Roger is really an optimist!

CATEX will be in London the week of February 29th visiting clients and prospects and for the CAT Risk Conference we're co-sponsoring.

As always if you have any questions or comments about CATEX Reports, or want more information about CATEX, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you very much.

Stephanie A. Fucetola
Senior Vice President/CATEX

Data, Apple, the FBI and Underwriting

It's beginning to seem as if all we talk about is data, how to handle it and how inadequately handling it leads to problems for insurers and reinsurers.  This writer will admit that he comes from a time when the concept of data meant looking at reams of numbers in a statistical abstract somewhere --it was a trove to utilize when writing a thesis or term paper.

Today data is at the heart of just about every news story you read.  In the United States the FBI is trying to get Apple to disable a feature on its iPhone that wipes (yes, Hillary, like with a cloth or something) the phone clean if someone makes ten consecutive attempts to enter a 4 digit passcode on a password protected phone. The FBI is trying to crack the iPhone of the assailants in the San Bernardino murders but doesn't dare risk aiming its super-computers at the billions of possible 4 digit code combinations if the tenth unsuccessful attempt will erase all the data both on the phone and the killer's iCloud account.

It seems a reasonable request until you understand the reasons behind Apple's refusal to disable the feature. Apple says that they can't disable the feature --not unless they build a whole new software procedure which, they say, will eventually make its way to people other than the FBI.

We know that expectations of secrecy are a lot lower today than when Coca Cola placed the secret recipe of its soft drink in an Atlanta vault in the 1920s but we felt that somehow Apple was being a little uncooperative by refusing to do this. Then we learned that in Apple's second biggest market for iPhones, China, the law requires the company to deposit any encryption keys to any of the products sold in China with the Chinese government.

Apple apparently feels that by disabling this feature for the FBI it would mean that other governments --like China --would demand that the disabling feature be made available to them too.  

Unlike companies like Google or Facebook the Apple iOS operating system simply does not give the company (or anyone) access to its user's data. Thus Apple can't tell who users are communicating with; what they're listening to; what they're buying; or what they're photographing.  One of Apple's core promises to its consumers is that consumer data will remain private even to them, the product manufacturer and iCloud operator. For these reasons Apple's CEO Tim Cook has been clear that the company will not comply with the government's request.

Apple has been able to penetrate the Chinese market, despite the requirement to hand over the encryption keys, because Apple simply doesn't have any such keys.  By complying with the FBI request even we can see the potential "slippery slope" ahead for Apple.

Insurance and reinsurance data issues usually don't make the mainstream headlines.  In this month's news though we were able to identify a few related strands.

We've reported in the past about the new trend to better match insured risks with the appropriately priced capital. Companies like Arch, using its Watford Re vehicle, have ceded risks which it projects the underwriting profit will be very low, out to its hedge-fund type managed vehicle in the hopes that an increased investment profit will overcome that projected low profit margin.  Sometimes it doesn't work (Investment profits? Remember them?) but most of the time it does.

That leads to the question how does the process work that identifies the risks that should be shifted to a sidecar? Surely underwriting discipline is involved, but also analyzing every bit of available data about a prospective insured risk is paramount. And of course, that process needs to be employed for risks that will be written by the insurer and kept on its balance sheet.

The most jarring failure of this process that we saw this month comes from Zurich Insurance. Chairman Tom de Swaan, in an interview with Bloomberg, said that miscommunication among Zurich business units aggravated losses from the Tianjin port explosion last year. de Swaan said " There was accumulation of risk there, which was not sufficiently detected, different information systems did not communicate well enough." Zurich has thus far indicated that it will bear $275 million in losses from Tianjin. 

de Swaan's comments filled in the detail about a story we saw in Insurance Insider a few weeks earlier which said "Market sources also told Insurance Insider that Zurich's central management appeared to have lost control of the underwriters at the front line, leading to ill discipline."

Our previous understanding of poor underwriting discipline was more in the direction of underwriters relying too much on client and broker representations without validating information independently.  Possibly we would go so far as to think that sometimes poor underwriting discipline might extend to the occasional approval of a risk at a price close to the desired premium if the broker and client relationships were important.

The Zurich situation could be fundamentally different. It's quite possible that Zurich underwriters in different Zurich business units understood everything there was to understand about the Tianjin risks. It's also possible that those same underwriters obtained their sought-after prices for those risks. In the case of Zurich what those underwriters couldn't know --if these reports are  true -- was that other underwriters in Zurich were insuring risks in the same small geographic area of the port of Tianjin or covering lines of business which could unfortunately intersect at Tianjin.

The Zurich situation might not have been a data quality issue but instead a case of one internal system not talking with another internal system. As de Swaan says "We have already strengthened our accumulation management" as a result of this event.

The we noticed comments by Alan Calder, head of group catastrophe risk management for Aspen.  Calder touched on an issue that frankly has alarmed us for some time.  Since everyone seems to be betting that the emerging markets are going to provide a big boost to the insurance and reinsurance industry in the future, how can we be sure that the quality of data about these new risks will be accurate enough to be modeled and evaluated for underwriting? 

If anyone in the the industry needed a wake-up call about the importance of understanding the potential impact of new catastrophe scenarios the Thai flood losses of 2011 provided it. Catastrophe scenarios, and for that matter any model, depend on the quality of the data being analyzed. Calder notes that there are very good models for earthquake risk, tropical cyclones and flood loss in a number of emerging markets. He also notes that "there is now a much greater range of data levels and approaches which contrasts with the rather coarse, highly aggregated data of the past." He cites Colombia and Peru as two countries in which reinsurance cedents have "provided high resolution latitude and longitude exposure data, which is of a standard that is arguably ahead of the resolution of many of the risk models available."

Calder notes though that the challenge is to maintain and develop models in a rapidly evolving risk landscape.  Human activity --such as the increasing urbanization in emerging economies, means that there is a long way to go "with certain markets suffering from institutional limitations such as basic address standards."

We thought about Calder's comments in the context of what we call the "data intake chain". Somewhere along that line of risk --whether it be straight commercial insurance or a reinsurance cover --someone, somewhere begins to intake basic information about the risk(s).  Information like address, type of construction, year built, size, etc. is all transcribed from an insurance application and entered into a system somewhere.

From our experience in the so-called developed world, we've seen that most of that information is frequently entered onto an Excel spreadsheet from where it can be exported up the next level of the data intake chain.  As it moves up the intake chain the data can be diverted to models or to internal underwriting systems. We doubt that the basic data intake steps are any different in emerging markets than they are in the developed markets. 

In fact, to be honest, we suspect that absent the imposition of draconian standards by insurers, it's likely that finding clean, complete and accurate emerging market data will be quite a challenge.

This realization led us to several observations. We know that one of the ways Lloyd's is planning on capitalizing on opportunities in emerging markets is by the tried and true MGA approach.  In fact John Nelson has noted that the MGA approach seems well suited to distribute Lloyd's products expeditiously and cost effectively. He is no doubt correct but we thought about that strategy in light of comments made by Everest Re's CEO Dominic Addesso.

Everest is one of several reinsurers that have begun to move down the risk food chain to write more primary business. When Addesso was questioned about the strategy he said the carrier had begun to shift the book to one where Everest Re drives the underwriting as opposed to a strategy focused on managing general agents. Addesso said the primary book of business "has been driven by desk underwriters that are employed by Everest. That's the significant change."

To be sure the new Everest strategy means that any ceding fee paid to an MGA is eliminated but in light of all the other news this month we couldn't help but look at these comments from an underwriting perspective. 

Addesso is far too diplomatic to say that the underwriting information that was being proffered to Everest by MGA's was inadequate even if that had been the case. But by effectively stating that the underwriting for the primary book will be performed by desk underwriters "employed by Everest", Addesso has touched on one of the hidden "third rails" of data management in the industry.  

If it is your data, on a risk your company is going to cover, that means you will be more likely to go back to the data sender to get missing data or clarification on entries that don't seem correct.  Conversely, if you're passing the data up the data chain for another company to insure --well, you might not make the same effort until or unless you're asked to by the next data recipient.

We thought of this when we saw this short article which reported the results of a survey of UK brokers. According to the survey less than 20% of UK brokers would describe the quality of data and information held by insurers as good or excellent.  The next statistic was more telling. 67% of UK brokers said the effectiveness of insurers to use their data to reduce risk and improve profitability was poor or average.

We admit that we were surprised at this. One could argue that it's the brokers themselves who provide a large part of the data to insurers and two-thirds of the brokers are now saying that the data provided is poor or average?  That's not the direction we're headed here though.  What did strike us was that this was a survey of brokers in the United Kingdom which is one of the world's most mature markets.  If this kind of statistic is even close to correct about UK insured data what are the ramifications for less developed markets?

That's when we realized that what Addesso was doing, was not only avoiding the MGA ceding commission, but also taking a giant step toward the original insured by getting close enough to demand data in a very direct way.  We also realized that unless reinsurers and insurers are prepared to take this same step in emerging markets they run the risk of not getting the complete delivery of data they need for models and underwriting purposes.

Finally we noted that the UK's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) said that "Insurers have continued to encounter difficulties in adopting consistent data management in the internal model approval process (Imap) according to a Solvency II data review." The Imap is a heavy lift for insurers, and is required by Solvency II as essentially a means to ensure that insurers monitor their capital requirements in light of their accumulated risk. 

We know from experience the difficulty insurers can face with multiple underwriting and claims related legacy systems.  The Imap would have insurers connecting the output from those systems with financial management systems on an enterprise level. The PRA said that it had found "large firms in particular struggling to ensure that data producers and data consumers adopted consistent processes in managing data from source to the internal model."

Craig Skinner, at PwC observed that many insurers still struggled to articulate, design and implement effective controls over material data. Skinner said "Organizations are creating, collecting and storing ever increasing amounts of more and more complex data and that coupled with the complexities of the processes and using multiple--and often legacy --IT systems, insurers must apply ever more controls and ongoing assurance over material data."

Skinner's comments can hardly be surprising can they?  Zurich, one of the world's largest and most respected insurers experienced an over-concentration of risk because its systems didn't detect it.  Next, Everest quietly assumes control, by employee underwriters, of its primary coverage book with the certainty that it will be able to obtain better underwriting data. Then we see Aspen's Calder note that as far as emerging markets are concerned much progress has been made but there remains much more to do. And we see the results of a survey canvassing UK brokers, in one of the most mature markets, that finds 67% of them believe insurers are doing a poor to average job in using data to increase profitability. 

Here's how it could add up from our perspective.  We've been over to London a few times already this year.  Aside from the laments about pricing; concerns about consolidation; anxiety about new follow-form facilities; and the continued "touch wood" on the benign CAT claim activity, we've begun to notice something else in our discussions.

We've learned that either the models have improved greatly or underwriters are having ever-more faith in them. We've learned that one sure way to protect yourself (if you're an underwriter) against possible later claims of "poor underwriting discipline" is simply to model anything you're even considering insuring.  We've also had confirmed to us the high cost and human effort involved in both cleansing and completing data for analysis by models. We also have begun to hear, for the first time, an insistence that an insurer will go back down the data chain to have a queried value provided no matter how far away from the risk the carrier may be.  And finally, we've begun to see a concern about the prospective quality of data that could originate from emerging and developing economies as study after study highlight the billions of dollars in premium to be had in these countries.

If data quality issues are a problem now what could they be like in the future as incoming data begins to come from risks being insured for the first time being entered into either legacy systems or Excel spreadsheets by those closest to the risks in these emerging economies.

From our perspective either insurers are going to want more products like the CATEX Data Vera application or they will be following Everest Re's lead and unleash underwriters on corporate risk managers and retail commercial agents

Data has come a long way from those statistical abstracts in the public library from years ago. And, not to put too fine a touch on this, but we can see Tim Cook's point here as well. "Data" has now become the same as those rows of file cabinets that used to be kept under lock and key in the office. With the speed of business today, that data has been forced to become more complete and more accurate, than what was ever kept in those metal filing cabinets. It's also a lot more valuable. 

Reinsurance in a time of famine

You can't help but get the feeling that the whole industry is sort of stuck.  Interest rates remain low, and equity markets haven't started the year well, and it points to another tough year on investment returns.  In the meantime more anecdotes pour in about prices continuing to fall with one analyst suggesting that  it will only be when "there is blood in the streets" that the market to turn. 

Above all, everyone says that the industry has benefited from the benign catastrophe loss environment. According to Gen Re's Tad Montross the benign CAT loss environment has benefited the industry more than it knows "because if you look at the exposure it's actually increased significantly." 

Stephen Catlin of XL Catlin said that "to achieve a 10% return on equity (ROE) for the industry as a whole for 2016 is probably now impossible" and he said this on January 18th before further stock market declines.  Improbably, and what do we know, Fitch Ratings said the following week that "We still believe that 10% ROE is achievable in 2016 and if companies fall below that, it could be a trigger for negative action on that company's rating."

In several articles, Hannover CEO Ulrich Wallin noted that he believed the reinsurance market remained a cyclical market despite suggestions that all the new capital from ILS providers had evened things out.  According to Wallin, the industry experienced several "cycles without dislocation" from 2002 to 2013 when nearly every third year had experienced loss events.  Wallin said that each time one of those loss events caused reinsurer's ROE to dip below 5% the premium rates had indeed increased.

This is an interesting observation from Wallin and one, perhaps, to remember.  Wallin said that "The volatility was our friend" and that overall rates since the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001 had remained at relatively good levels.  He said that if reinsurance cycles were truly gone then the downward trend of rates recently would be "very concerning".

As for the future Wallin said that he thought reinsurers could endure another two to three years of current market conditions before results truly turn negative. He noted that reinsurers haven't yet reached the "cheating" phase of a market cycle where reserve releases are employed to hide poor results.

Wallin noted that Hannover Re's CAT excess of loss underwriting portfolio was no longer anticipated to meet its cost of capital but told analysts that "Overall we still expect to earn the cost of capital based on risk free interest rates."  The key word is "overall".  He went on to observe that Hannover's North America business comfortably makes its cost of capital but that Europe is close to being an unprofitable underwriting region.  

The overall absence of big CAT losses has been allowing the business to continue being written even as rates drop. However, as Wallin notes, because of his belief in the continued cyclical nature of the industry, Hannover would seem to expect an obvious dip in profit after significant losses but be well positioned for larger profits as a result of an increase in rates following such a loss.

This is a position Wallin can afford to take. Hannover Re is after all the third largest reinsurer in the world and as well diversified as any insurer.  Perhaps though, by revealing this analysis which Wallin must take when operating a company the size of Hannover, he caused some anxiety among analysts when suggesting that the overall expectation was one of earning the cost of capital even as certain lines don't quite meet that cost. Wallin was quick to say that one thing Hannover would never do is underwrite at levels below the modeled expected loss.  Hannover explained that "for them the walk away price is expected loss, plus expenses, plus retro expenses. Anything below that and they will not renew the business."

It's a valuable insight as to how large reinsurers are operating in these times of famine.
 Alternative capital comes a long way from property CAT

It wasn't that long ago that people were wondering if ILS or CAT bonds could be used to underwrite risks other than just straight property CAT.  Remember when Credit Suisse and Armour Group raised nearly $600 mn in funds to support P&C run-off business? Pundits were surprised because of the casualty "tail" and the perceived impatience of ILS investors. Things seem to have come a long way in a very short time.

We saw that the big bank Credit Suisse is preparing to go to market with an operational risk insurance cover from a CAT bond like instrument.  The bank is looking to raise about $635 million via a 5 year ILS bond that will pay 4% interest. Market sources indicate that Credit Suisse is looking to purchase a 5 year Operational Risk insurance policy from Zurich Insurance which provides about $704 million in coverage of which Zurich will retain 10% via a quota share and transfer the $635 million coverage balance to a special purpose entity that would be supported by the fully collateralized proceeds of an ILS bond paying 4% interest.

That Credit Suisse is doing this isn't surprising. The bank has been at the forefront of ILS activity and is even backing a Lloyd's syndicate.  What might be surprising is that it took this long for the bank to deploy this expertise to insure risks closer to home --like the operational risk of the bank itself.  Apparently, the bank is telling prospective bond investors that operational risk is the risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people and systems or from external events. 

Reputational risk, credit risk, market risk and business opportunity loss as a result of business interruption are excluded from the definition of operational risk.

This proposal is interesting not just because it's about as far away from straight ILS supported property CAT risk as you can get but because it frankly seems to be a new type of coverage.  We know that banks use internal hedging mechanisms to limit their credit risk, and of course they maintain coverage to protect human and physical assets.  But we don't necessarily know if insurance coverage exists for the operational risk of any enterprise no less one as large and as complex as Credit Suisse.

If this is a new type of coverage then it's a potentially seminal event.  Not only will ILS have moved into a new coverage type but the coverage being underwritten by the ILS funds will be something not offered in the traditional market.  We'll explore this as more facts are revealed but you may recall that this is one of the main arguments of ILS proponents. They claim that there are vast amounts of risk which remains uninsured in the world and that the added capital from alternative sources will inspire creativity to develop new coverages and products for that capital to support.  This could be a good validation of that point.
British to vote on leaving EU

The possible exit of the United Kingdom from the 28 nation European Union will be the subject of a national referendum in Britain on June 23rd.  This vote is potentially a very big deal especially for British businesses that operate within the EU.  Lloyd's Sean McGovern has already noted the potential negative effects a so called "Brexit" could have on Lloyd's and no doubt other insurers could deliver similar messages.

From what we can discern current polls break British popular opinion out as about 50/50 either way.  Americans are unaware of the plethora of EU regulation emitted from Brussels, the EU capital, which must be followed in each member state (not just in the UK either!).  According to some estimates the EU had introduced 3,580 laws that impact UK firms since 2010. What do these laws affect?  Lots of things both big and small.

EU rules affect things such as the curvature of cucumbers that are allowed to be sold; a ban on large vacuum cleaner bags in an effort to "re-educate" citizens who consume too much energy; and bans or restrictions on thousands of other consumer products, including: bananas, clothes dryers, cosmetics, fruit jam, laptop computers, laundry detergents, light bulbs, olive oil, plastic bags, refrigerators, showerheads, television sets, tobacco, toilets, toys, urinals and wine cooling cabinets.

The "Vote Leave" supporters say that if this type of regulation wasn't irksome enough there is the fact that Britain is one of 10 member states who pay more into the EU budget than they get out - only France and Germany contribute more. The UK's net contribution for 2014/15 was 8.8bn but it receives an annual rebate from the EU which totalled about 3.0bn last year. 

Most of the discussion in Brussels last week, involving British Prime Minister David Cameron and the EU leadership, was apparently centered on easing the UK's obligations to provide assistance to migrants and their dependents. The UK achieved the right to pay child benefit payments to the dependents of migrants working in England but with dependents in their home countries at a rate reflective of the cost of living in their home country --not that of England.

Cameron also negotiated a so-called "emergency brake" which gives the UK the right to limit in-work benefits to migrants during their first four years in the UK during times of "exceptional" levels of migration. It's a complicated issue and the BBC has done a good job with a quick summary of the issues on both sides.  

To put it mildly, if Britain votes to leave the EU it will vastly complicate relationships between UK based insurers and brokers and their continental business partners. Right now the UK essentially operates within one large market with 508 million people living in it.  A British withdrawal from that market would mean that licensing applications and permits to operate will need to be resubmitted with the status as a non-EU member entity.  How the reverse would work --European businesses seeking to do business with UK companies-- hasn't yet been fully explained.

Business leaders, especially big business leaders from Sir Richard Branson on down, have generally been saying that leaving the EU would present a significant negative impact to the British economy. But if you've been to London lately you'll have noticed a proliferation of the lapel pin buttons some now wear saying "Vote Leave". As we said, polling indicates that it's about a 50/50 split right now and we have four months to go until the referendum.

Meanwhile we Americans can't go to a meeting in London without being asked about Donald Trump.  We remain as we are at home --speechless.
Why is everyone so anxious about the economy?
Roger, a chartered accountant after all, breaks through all the gloomy news 

Roger Crombie

I was belatedly watching a TV series called The Newsroom this week. It was written by Aaron Sorkin, the pre-eminent dialogue writer of our time. Near the beginning and the end of the series, Charlie Skinner, head of cable TV news network ACN, bemoans the current state of news coverage, and tells his anchor man: "In the old days, we got the news right. You know how? We just decided to."

By the time you read this, we may be proceeding down a path that leads to economic difficulties that might, in time, amount to serious trouble. No one can forecast the exact nature of what's going to happen, because the people who decide what's going to happen haven't decided yet.

We are those people. All of us, but especially the media and financial analysts. We have begun talking the economy into a downward spiral. There's no particular reason. We just decided to.

But China's economy is in the doldrums, you say. Yes, there has been a slight economic slowdown in a country far away. It's a routine blip, not a world-shaking event. Growth slipped to 6.9 percent in 2014 from 7.3 percent a year earlier.

China is in the process of moving from an economy led by construction and manufacturing to a consumer-led economy. They have 1.4 billion consumers. Chinese stocks may have fallen, but they were overpriced following a 150 percent increase between mid-2014 and mid-2015, so a correction was in order.

But oil is cheap, you say. That should be good news, really good news, but we've decided it's bad news. The reasons for the decline are obvious and oft-repeated. Those with significant oil deposits, notably the Saudis and the Russians, are trying to influence American insistence on buying less of it, and to head off the development of domestically-extracted shale oil by reducing the potential economic return.

Neither of these supposedly market-driving conditions will last. China will right its ship - the economy is tightly controlled - and if oil prices don't go up soon, Saudis will have to start earning a living, which would be comical were it not being taken as a sure sign of disaster by those with a shallow understanding of how things work.

Search high and low for reasons for the outbreak of negativity and you won't find any compelling economic explanations for the onset of decline. Yes, structural problems exist in the global economic system, but they were there months ago, when we were believed that everything was rosy.

Maybe enough people saw the film the "The Big Short" and now think they understand CDOs. Maybe enough people read a newspaper and have bought into what sells newspapers: bad news. Maybe enough people believe what they read on the Internet, even though much of it is written by the uninformed, the ill-educated and the publicity-hungry.

Our economic system relies, and always has relied, not on governments, nor the will of the people, nor the price of oil. It relies solely on confidence. If we think things are going to be OK, they might be. If we think things are going to be bad, they will be. You know this. Everyone knows this.

Right now, we have convinced ourselves that a spot of doom and gloom is in order, and a spot of doom and gloom there will be. The confidence has seemingly gone out of the system. Without it, the system wobbles about, wondering what to do next. That wobble unnerves the big money, and in response, the big money tightens up. The requisite media outrage ensues, and the next thing you know, we've talked ourselves into trouble.

Groucho Marx once said: "I have nothing but confidence in you, and very little of that." He was joking. Those who write about economic news, and those who read what they write, feel much the same way about global economics, and most of them lack a sense of humour.

This is the 21st century. Isn't mankind a little long in the tooth to panic at unconfirmed reports of the first sign of trouble?

The answer, it seems, is no.

Roger Crombie is an American Society of Business Publication Editors national award winner. An English chartered accountant who lives in Eastbourne, on England's South Coast, he writes and broadcasts news and opinion in the US, UK, Bermuda and the Caribbean, in print and online. His main beat is insurance and financial services, with 30-year sidelines in music and humour. All views expressed in Roger's columns are exclusively his own. Contact Roger at

Copyright CATEX Reports
February 25, 2016
Quick Bytes

Aon's CEO Greg Case thinks the industry would need to see "multiple Hurricane Katrinas" which cost the industry $41.1 billion in 2005 to absorb the current excess capacity in the market...14 of the 94 Lloyd's syndicates are now backed by Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American companies. This represents over 18% of current stamp capacity and is a validation of Lloyd's efforts to attract so called "non-Western" capital"...Royal Caribbean is being criticized for allowing its "Anthem of the Seas", the world's third largest cruise ship, to sail from New Jersey with 4,500 passengers on February 7th. Unfortunately the ship experienced winds of up to 80 mph and had to turn back to port after several troublesome days which saw passengers confined to staterooms for period of time...A study from the London School of Economics predicts that Flood Re, the new UK's government-backed reinsurance vehicle won't reduce flood risk because continued new home construction since the 2009 cut-off for Flood Re eligibility means the permeability of the land is reduced creating more runoff as a result...A new study by the Insurance Bureau of Canada shows that 1.8 million Canadian homes are considered "very high risk" for flooding...Validus CEO Ed Noonan thinks that the increase of broker-created follow-form facilities is simply "a way for brokers to offload their expense problem onto underwriters"...The January winter snowstorm that hit the US Middle Atlantic and Northeast interrupted shipping schedules to Bermuda causing shortages of certain items in Bermuda supermarkets...An analyst at Citigroup suggested that Google parent Alphabet consider buying AIG...China's biggest industrial companies apparently are looking to buy insurance companies in 2016 according to Willis Towers Watson...And we've wondered why anyone would willingly surrender their driving experience to an "autonomous car"  but learned that young people apparently dislike driving. A new study in the US reports a sharp decline over the past twenty years of people under 25 getting their driver's licenses...

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