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Swiss Re expects demand for natural catastrophe cover to double in high-growth markets and to rise by around 50% in mature markets by 2020

Swiss Re expects the demand for natural catastrophe reinsurance to double in high-growth markets and to rise by around 50% in mature markets by 2020.

Alternative capital is focusing on peak exposures in the US nat cat markets where entry barriers are low and margins high. Swiss Re estimates that prices for nat cat covers will stabilise in 2014 after a decline this year. With clients looking for more than just capacity, Swiss Re is well positioned to take advantage of its full service business model.

Group Chief Executive Officer Michel M. Liès says: “Through a shared history of 150 years, we have learned first-hand how important it is to bring expertise and staying power to our clients so they can cope with the many changes and challenges that evolve over time. Differentiation through tailor-made solutions, a client-centric service model and expertise makes our business model less vulnerable to increased competition from alternative capital.”

Swiss Re benefits from a combination of its capital markets expertise and its full re/insurance service model
Amid the continued low yield environment, alternative capital continues to enter the re/insurance market in search of attractive investment opportunities. 70% of this capital focuses on US natural catastrophe risks while other business lines are less affected. Swiss Re estimates the amount of alternative capacity today at around USD 40 billion worldwide. Alternative capital has the highest share in the US nat cat market where it is comparable to what it was immediately after hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Alternative capital still needs to be tested in case of increasing interest rates or large losses from natural disasters.

These changing market dynamics are expected to be most challenging to less diversified reinsurers.

“We take the inflow of alternative capital seriously, but we are not alarmed by it. Swiss Re can take advantage of its capital markets expertise and – at the same time – compete successfully as a full service provider,” says Swiss Re’s Group Chief Underwriting Officer Matthias Weber. “Smaller, less diversified reinsurers, however, will be under significant pressure,” Weber adds.

Growth by differentiation, knowledge and innovation
Swiss Re sees continued growth of exposures over the coming years, as the economic outlook which includes the mature markets improves. Demand for nat cat re/insurance is expected to double in high growth markets and increase by approximately 50 % in mature markets by 2020. At the same time, Swiss Re will focus on providing innovative product solutions and underwriting expertise to support clients.

“Especially in today’s connected world, risk transfer is getting more complex. Being able to deliver tailor-made solutions to your clients for very different and challenging scenarios will be a key differentiator to succeed in the market,” says Christian Mumenthaler, CEO Reinsurance at Swiss Re. “We provide a truly global client service model with in-depth expertise and risk knowledge transfer.”

Stable pricing trends expected at upcoming renewal season
Although prices for nat cat covers are expected to decrease in the short term, Swiss Re expects them to stabilise in 2014. The US liability insurance market is hardening. For other property & casualty segments, price trends are expected to remain stable.