The insurer said at the time that "despite every effort", it was unable to secure the necessary capital contributions from shareholders, who pumped $170m into CCI just 18 months earlier to help cover sex abuse claims amid significant losses.
The requirement for a further capital injection arose from a continuous surge in the number of new claims arising from historic abuse matters as well as the liability impacts of factors such as Australia's erratic weather.
CCI remains solvent and is managing claims for existing policyholders – including for abuse-related matters – using its capital reserves. However, it was announced earlier this month that the insurer was planning to enter a scheme of arrangement amid uncertainty over the quantum of long-term sex abuse and other claims and to avoid formal insolvency.
CCI chairman Joan Fitzpatrick said that further claims could possibly emerge that could threaten CCI's solvency, resulting in significant impacts on policy holders. A scheme of arrangement, she said, would seek to ensure that a formal insolvency process was avoided.
"Based on estimates of claims as at end of May 2023, CCI currently has sufficient assets to meet its liabilities as they fall due," Ms Fitzpatrick writes.
"However, the claims situation is uncertain both in respect of Professional Standards (abuse claims) and other lines of business underwritten by CCI and is subject to significant complexity".
Many industry insiders believe that CCI's decision to enter into run-off will considerably impact the market. Though CCI typically focused on specific business sectors, namely aged care, education and religious organisations, their departure leaves a void likely to result in major capacity constraints across the entire market.
For many organisations, CCI was one of the few insurers (both locally and abroad) willing to provide sexual abuse and molestation cover – a significant risk that many service providers require insurance for – after the royal commission into child sexual abuse triggered an insurance market collapse. Insurers began pulling out of the market due to a high frequency of claims and associated financial losses, causing significant capacity and pricing pressure in the market.
Certain organisations were forced to accept limited coverage comprising targeted exclusions at very expensive rates, while others could not maintain cover given the significant costs involved. This led to various groups, including disability support workers and other care providers, to terminate certain essential services which they could no longer afford to offer, given the high risks associated with such activities.
Sexual molestation cover is still available; however, markets are limited, coverage is expensive and contingent on an organisation's loss history, its exposure to these risks, and what risk management is in place to prevent sexual abuse from taking place.
For this reason, many organisations that previously utilised CCI will be heavily reliant on the performance of their insurance broker to find the most appropriate solution. Their ability to effectively canvass the market and execute the most effectual insurer engagement strategies will be critical to obtain the most competitive, viable long term solutions in the commercial insurance market due to CCI's exit.
After several years of premium increases, restrictive policy conditions and limited capacity, conditions in the Directors & Officers (D&O) market are stabilising, with cover becoming more available and affordable. An influx of new insurers (particularly from London markets) and generally broader market appetite has created healthy competition in the marketplace, especially for private companies, smaller listed companies, and excess layer policies.
According to a recent report published by global broker Marsh, D&O pricing in the Pacific region – where Australia is the largest market – reduced on average by 10% in the second quarter of 2023, and in some cases more. However, while conditions are steadily improving as competition grows, new, emerging exposures for company directors and officers will be a crucial focus for insurers going forward.
Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) is high on the agenda with regulators and shareholders and has become a significant area of focus for insurers. In Australia, ASIC has issued greenwashing infringement notices (where a company makes false or misleading statements about the positive impacts their product or service has on the environment) to several major corporations and has commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against both Mercer Superannuation (Australia) Limited and Vanguard Investments Australia for allegedly making misleading statements about the sustainable nature and characteristics of some of their investment options.
The regulator also recently published a media release highlighting six key areas that company boards and their advisors need to pay attention to for reporting purposes, all of which pertain to financial performance and clear disclosure. It is expected that Insurers will seek out underwriting information from both new and prospective clients regarding compliance with these concerns as part of the renewal process. A copy of ASIC’s media release can be found here.
Many industry insiders expect the improving market conditions to continue; however, ongoing economic and claims volatility will continue to be in focus for insurers as they reassess their budget projections and future appetite. Insurers will continue to favour certain risk types, with only the most appealing, well-managed risks being able to take advantage of the positive developments in the market, including the additional capacity that now exists.
For this reason, the performance of your insurance broker is crucial. As your exclusive representative, their ability to differentiate you in the market, separate you from the pack and successfully sell you as an attractive, well-managed risk to insurers is key to achieving the best possible outcomes.
Although pricing will not return to the lows of pre-pandemic or soft market levels in the short term, ensuring that you are working with the right broker is key to ensuring you are getting the best deal from the market.
These alternative options allow businesses to better manage their financial exposure, enhance their ability to recover from climate related events and promote long term sustainability in the face of evolving environmental challenges.
Understanding parametric insurance:
Parametric insurance sets itself apart from traditional insurance models by focusing on the probability of a predefined event occurring, such as an earthquake or a major cyclone, rather than indemnifying actual losses incurred. What makes it unique is that policyholders do not have to experience physical damage to receive a claim payout. The coverage is automatically triggered once the predefined event occurs, ensuring a prompt response. Parametric insurance policies are relatively new to the Australian and New Zealand markets, and their popularity is starting to rise for larger organisations with sizeable exposures to climate related risks and adverse weather patterns.
A real world example
Imagine a company with substantial property or assets located in a cyclone prone region. By opting for parametric insurance, they can establish a triggering event based on cyclone category size within a defined radius. The policy coverage is activated if a cyclone hits within the predetermined area. As the cyclone's wind speed intensifies, the amount eligible for a claim also increases. In other words, the more significant the event or category size, the larger the claim payout.
Flexibility and usage of claim proceeds
Parametric insurance empowers organisations to allocate claim proceeds according to their specific needs. Whether it's repairing damaged assets, offsetting revenue loss resulting from a cyclone, or covering additional expenditures, the flexibility of utilising claim funds ensures effective resource allocation in the aftermath of a disaster.
A streamlined claim settlement process
One of the significant advantages of parametric insurance lies in its efficient claim settlement process. Unlike traditional policies that often involve lengthy quantification and assessment procedures, parametric insurance payouts do not require such exhaustive evaluations. As long as the predefined event has been independently verified, the insured sum is automatically paid out, minimising funding delays. This streamlined approach enables organisations to access necessary funds swiftly, expediting their recovery efforts.
While parametric insurance presents an innovative solution, it requires careful analysis and accurate structuring to ensure effectiveness. The policy will only respond and pay out for loss events explicitly defined in the policy, necessitating precise structuring to avoid scenarios where the predefined event occurs, but the cover is not triggered. Companies should consult experts to tailor parametric insurance policies to their specific risk exposure, mitigating potential drawbacks.
Parametric insurance for vulnerable industries
Parametric insurance is increasingly gaining traction among large organisations vulnerable to weather related events, supply chain disruptions and commodity price fluctuations. Industries such as construction, mining, renewables, energy, oil and gas, and agriculture recognise the value of parametric insurance as a strategic risk management tool. Embracing this innovative approach enables companies to protect their assets and enhance resilience in the face of climate related risks.
As climate change amplifies the frequency and severity of natural disasters, traditional insurance policies may no longer suffice. Parametric insurance emerges as a game-changer, offering proactive protection against climate-related risks. By leveraging predefined triggers, expedited claim settlements and tailored policy structures, companies can bolster their organisations' financial stability, mitigate losses and ensure swift recovery. Embrace the future of risk management with parametric insurance and fortify your company's resilience.
Determining the most appropriate form of parametric insurance can be difficult. Speak to one of our experienced insurance experts to discuss the complex exercise of getting the right cover.
The 7% increase has ended a run of eight straight consecutive quarters of pricing reductions. After peaking at a whopping 35% in Q4 of 2020, average premium increases in the market have steadily declined over the past 24 months until now.
Several global reinsurance brokers have also reported that a combination of high inflation, interest rate hikes, fractured energy markets, the Ukraine war, and losses emanating from Hurricane Ian has caused “significant volatility” in the reinsurance market, resulting in “one of the hardest reinsurance markets in living memory”.
Property & Casualty
Current conditions in relation to Property and Business Interruption insurance remain challenging for most, but not all, buyers. Organisations with limited natural catastrophe (NATCAT) exposures and/or low hazard occupancies are seeing more favourable results. In contrast, organisations with sizeable geographical (NATCAT) exposures, significant loss records, or those operating in high hazard risk sectors continue to face capacity issues and experience more challenging conditions.
Marsh’s Quarterly Market Index Report (QMIR) revealed that Property insurance pricing increased 8% in the first quarter of 2023, up from 4% in the previous quarter.
Marsh Head of Global Placement, Asia Pacific, John Donnelly, highlighted ongoing inflationary pressures, rising reinsurance costs, and catastrophe risk as the key drivers of the first quarter property increase.
Looking ahead, insurers are expected to continue to impose modest rate increases and will likely remain overly selective when deploying their capacity, particularly with respect to NATCAT perils.
Inflationary pressures and rising construction costs are also causing Insurers to become increasingly focused on obtaining property valuations to ensure their clients declared values are accurate. Without these, insurers are pushing to include unfavourable co-insurance/average provisions, which make clients liable for a percentage of any claim costs where the declared values are less than the true replacement value.
With increased frequency and severity of water damage losses occurring across Australia and New Zealand, insurers are also now redefining the definition of Flood within their wordings, utilising more restrictive language that limits the breadth of cover afforded to policy holders.
Conditions also remain challenging in the Casualty/Liability segment. Social inflation issues are having a material impact on claims costs and causing difficulties for insurers when setting loss reserves. Consequently, insurers are responding through a combination of higher claim reserves, premiums, and increased deductibles, particularly for work injury losses.
While capacity generally remained sufficient for most buyers, premiums continued to rise. Several brokers have reported average pricing increases of up to 10% for low risk / non-loss affected accounts, increasing to as much as 25% for claims affected or high-risk accounts. The worst affected are those organisations that are exposed to/or contain bushfire exposure, sexual abuse/misconduct risks, large worker to worker risks, and organisations with USA exposures.
Financial & Professional Lines
Conditions in the financial lines market vary depending on the specific policy type. The favourable Directors and Officers (D&O) market conditions that began in 2022 have continued thus far in 2023.
New insurers continue to (re)enter the market (particularly London insurers), driving a more competitive environment, particularly for private companies, smaller listed companies and excess layer policies. Marsh’s QMIR showed average premium reductions from -5% to -10% in the D&O space for Q1 of 2023 – the third straight quarter of declining pricing.
However, while conditions are steadily improving as competition grows, there are new, emerging exposures for company directors and officers that will be a key focus for insurers going forward.
Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) is high on the agenda with regulators and shareholders and has become a significant area of focus for insurers. In Australia, ASIC has issued greenwashing infringement notices (where a company makes false or misleading statements about the positive impacts their product or service has on the environment) to several major corporations and, in late February, commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against Mercer Superannuation (Australia) Limited for allegedly making misleading statements about the sustainable nature and characteristics of some of its super investment options.
The Professional Indemnity (PI) market continues to perform at varying rates, depending on occupation and industry type. Competition remains healthy for more minor miscellaneous risks that are generally profitable for insurers; however, specific high-risk industries (e.g. architects, engineers, accountants etc.) continue to face various challenges and capacity issues, with only a handful of insurers willing to underwrite their business.
Conditions in the Cyber Liability market are also stabilising after a turbulent 24 months, primarily driven by a high volume of ransomware and cyber extortion attacks that caused havoc to all industries across all jurisdictions. The market is by no means reversing course entirely; however, pricing increases have moderated and are beginning to trend downward.
According to Marsh’s QMIR, the average pricing for Cyber insurance in the Pacific region dropped from 28% in Q4 of 2022 to 25% in Q1 of 2023. Results were far more favourable globally, with the average premium increase reducing to 11% in Q1.
However, while the Cyber Liability market is showing signs of improvement, and pricing pressure is starting to ease, the risks posed by cybercriminals are still enormous and securing appropriate cover will continue to be a challenge for many businesses, particularly those with limited or weak cyber-security systems. Robust cyber security measures are now a non-negotiable for many insurers, with multi-factor authentication, business-grade firewalls, and anti-virus software a must.
Current market conditions are expected to continue across most major business classes. However, while conditions have generally been trending in a more positive direction over the past 12 months, many insurance buyers will continue to face various challenges that could impede their ability to secure their desired levels of insurance protection.
Insurers will likely need to be more cautious when deploying their capacity. Only the most appealing, well-managed risks will be able to take advantage of the positive developments in the market and attract the most competitive capacity from insurers, who are increasingly selective regarding which risks they want or are willing to insure.
For this reason, the performance of your insurance broker is crucial. As your exclusive representative in the market, it’s imperative that your broker understands your organisation and adopts all the right tactics to extract the best results from the market.
Venturing into the realm of business insurance can be a daunting task. As Australia’s leading specialist consultancy group, we support businesses through the complex exercise of implementing efficient insurance programs. Contact us to find out more.
The first tragedy to unfold – major floods that hit the North Island from 27th January to 2nd February – is expected to cost the insurance industry over $1 billion, with $111m in insured losses already being paid. So far, about 47,300 claims have been lodged in relation to the floods, the majority of which cover house and contents claims valued at around $565 million, with a further $320 million in estimated losses for commercial claims.
At the same time, around 30,000 claims have been lodged due to Cyclone Gabrielle – the deadliest system to hit NZ since Cyclone Giselle in 1968 – which hit NZ less than two weeks after the floods, from February 12th – 16th.
“What we're talking about is these two events exceeding the record year for insured losses for extreme weather events and we've got ten months of the year to go. It is huge,” ICNZ CEO, Tim Grafton, said.
ICNZ’s Consumer Affairs Manager Sarah Knox was also quoted as saying that it would be years before all of the flood damage claims were settled, given the unprecedented scale of the floods.
These events are expected to create further challenges in an already distressed Property insurance market. Insurers have been imposing premium rate increases across their portfolios over the past several years following several catastrophic weather events worldwide, causing billions of dollars in insurance losses. And while some positive signs came out of the market that conditions had started to stabilise towards the back end of 2022, these latest tragedies will undoubtedly be another major setback for insurance buyers going forward.
Navigating the world of business insurance can be fraught. So contact Australia’s leading specialist consultancy group that supports businesses through the complex exercise of implementing efficient insurance programs.
Some encouraging signs
The volatile conditions that have disrupted the Cyber market in recent years are stabilising. Of course, the market is by no means reversing course entirely, but several key performance indicators suggest that the general outlook for insurance buyers is far more optimistic moving forward. Preliminary data released by Marsh shows that cyber-insurance pricing increased by 10% from a year earlier in January, a fraction of the 110% annual increase reported in the first quarter of 2022. Marsh further noted that claim frequency declined in the fourth quarter of 2022, even as severity remained elevated.
According to several major brokers, the improving conditions can be attributed to a change in insurers’ underwriting philosophies (i.e., how they write policies and their risk appetites) and more robust cybersecurity measures being adopted by businesses.
“What we’re left with is a very, very, very different market than what we went into two or three years ago,” said Paul Bantick, the global head of cyber risks at London-based insurer Beazley Plc. “We have a mature market that has stood up against a huge test.”
Signs of improvement
These developments attract fresh capacity from new (international) insurers entering the market, driving a more competitive environment and providing some relief on pricing. However, while the Cyber Liability market is showing signs of improvement, and pricing pressure is starting to ease, the risks posed by cyber criminals are still enormous and securing appropriate cover will continue to be a challenge for many businesses, particularly those with limited or weak cyber-security systems.
Insurers will likely remain overly cautious when deploying their capacity, with only the most appealing, well-managed risks being able to take advantage of the positive developments in the market, including the additional capacity that now exists.
In such an environment, the performance of your insurance broker is critical. Their capabilities and expertise in cyber security could be the difference between having the right cover at the right price or having insufficient and overpriced cover.
Please don't risk it. Contact us today to discover how you can leverage the expertise of multiple insurance industry experts to achieve the best cyber-security measures for your business.
Our specialist services provide you with a comprehensive assessment of your existing insurance arrangements to ensure you enjoy the best the market has to offer. Learn more.
Conditions in the insurance market have continued to stabilise throughout 2022. Overall, the size of rate increases that businesses have been experiencing in recent years has progressively decreased across most product lines since late 2020. However, while the pricing environment continues to improve and volatility has stabilised in some pockets of the market, specific segments remain particularly challenging, and the outlook going forward is filled with uncertainty in the wake of further global natural disasters and inflation issues.
According to Marsh’s most recent Global Insurance Market Index, commercial insurance prices in the Pacific region – where Australia and New Zealand are influential markets – rose on average by 5% in the third quarter of 2022. This continues the gradual decline in pricing increases that began in 2021 after peaking at a staggering 35% in Q4 of 2020.
Some of the most positive signs are coming out of the Directors & Officers (D&O) market as new insurers continue to enter the market, in turn driving a more competitive environment and providing some relief on pricing.
However, while the heavy pricing increases that insurers have imposed in recent years are generally easing, several issues will continue to affect the cost and availability of insurance in the future.
The Cyber insurance market has quickly become the most distressed line of insurance in the market following a sharp uptick in both the size and frequency of cyber-attacks. Ransomware and cyber extortion continue to be the main threats, causing havoc to all industries across all jurisdictions. According to a recent report published by Cybersecurity Ventures, ransomware will cost the world $20 billion in 2021. That number is expected to rise to $265 billion by 2031.
Several major brokers have reported significant premium increases across their Cyber Liability portfolio's starting at 30%, together with the reduced cover and higher retention levels. It is expected that the recent Optus and Medibank data breaches in Australia – the latter of which remains ongoing – will worsen the extremely difficult conditions for local insurance buyers.
Market conditions also remain challenging in the Casualty/Liability segment. According to several major broking firms, underwriters are seeking rate increases ranging from 5% - 10% for well performing, low-hazard risks, while high-hazard/risk accounts are generally experiencing much higher increases of up to 30% in some cases.
The increasing severity of extreme weather events worldwide is also continuing to impact the insurance sector. Claims incurred from the major flooding events that decimated parts of NSW and Southeast Queensland earlier this year have breached $5.57bn according to the Insurance Council of Australia, making it one of the largest loss events in Australia’s history.
Consequently, insurers are taking corrective measures to reduce their exposures in flood-prone areas by imposing higher deductibles, applying annual aggregated limits, or in some extreme cases, withdrawing cover altogether.
Globally, Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 hurricane that caused widespread flooding and claimed more than 100 lives across portions of central Florida in September this year, is expected to become the second-costliest hurricane ever for the US Property & Casualty industry. The ramifications of which are likely to be felt across the globe.
Early data provided by RMS (Risk Management Specialists Inc.) estimates total private market insured losses from Hurricane Ian to be between USD53 billion and USD74 billion.
Like many other industries, the insurance sector is also suffering from spiralling inflation rates locally and abroad. In addition, construction costs are rising at the fastest pace on record, driven in large part by the increasing price of construction materials, worker shortages, and inflated repair/rebuild costs. Similar issues exist in the commercial auto industry, which has also been heavily affected by surging costs of repairs, supply chain disruptions, and a lack of qualified trade professionals.
These rising inflation issues are weighing on insurers' profitability and impacting their premium reserves as the cost of claims surge. Many businesses may also find themselves uninsured where they have failed to take into account higher rebuild costs and expected delays in obtaining construction materials when setting their property and business interruption sums insured.
Many insurance buyers will continue to face various challenges that could impede their ability to secure their desired levels of insurance protection. As a result, insurers will likely remain overly cautious when deploying their capacity, with only the most appealing, well-managed risks being able to take advantage of the positive developments in the market, including the additional capacity that now exists.
For this reason, the performance of your insurance broker is crucial. As your exclusive representative, their ability to differentiate you in the market, separate you from the pack, and successfully sell you as an attractive, well-managed risk to insurers is key to achieving the best possible outcomes. Although pricing will not return to the lows of pre-pandemic or soft market levels in the short term, ensuring that you are working with the right broker is key to ensuring you are getting the best deal from the market.
Navigating the world of business insurance can be fraught. So contact Australia’s leading specialist consultancy group that supports businesses through the complex exercise of implementing efficient insurance programs.
One of the lasting legacies of the pandemic will almost certainly be the rise of hybrid workplaces as employees engage in a blended model of remote and in-office work.
While this should bring productivity benefits, business leaders must be conscious of reviewing their insurance cover to take into account any changed working arrangements. For example, they need to mitigate risks in relation to any in-home accidents involving employees, or respond to cybersecurity threats in relatively unprotected home environments.
Being proactive on the insurance front can help ensure continuity of cover, and potentially result in lower premiums in some cases. Until recent years, most business insurance policies have been structured around the fact that employees typically worked in a company office. COVID-19 has altered that reality, and insurance policies need to change, too.
Here are some of the key issues to consider.
1. Cyber liabilities
This is perhaps the most obvious and worrying risk that has been heightened as a result of hybrid work. As remote staff use home wi-fi connections that are easier to attack than a corporate IT network, there are potentially serious implications for a business – and its clients – if there is a serious hack. These breaches could threaten intellectual property and data sets.
The flip side is that a business which takes steps to improve its cybersecurity – such as implementing a multi-factor authentication (MFA) login system – can safeguard its operations and potentially be favourably looked upon by insurers when determining policy premiums.
2. Property damage and theft
Continuously transporting laptops and other mobile devices to and from work comes with the increased risk of damage or theft. It is prudent to alert insurance providers or brokers if your business has moved from a predominantly office-desktop setup to one that relies on remote laptop use. This can have an impact on insurance valuations and premiums.
For instance, does your contents insurance cover company-owned equipment that is used in an employee’s home and which may be damaged or lost? With such cases in mind, your insurance policy may need to be changed from a fixed location option to an all-risk location option.
3. Employment law considerations
Although there are many potential advantages with remote and hybrid work, it does raise some grey areas in terms of employment law. As a consequence, management and HR should consider the need to tailor employment contract clauses to encompass home or hybrid work. This could include complying with the law on working hours, and ensuring that staff take adequate breaks and look after their mental health.
Staff who work remotely should also have access to the same opportunities as those who are physically in a workplace, and they may even be eligible to claim costs such as heating and electricity given that they are using such utilities in the course of their work. The bottom line is that the failure to address such issues could lead to legal claims against a business – and any insurance cover needs to reflect such threats.
4. Employee health and wellbeing
COVID-19 has shown that flexible work practices can cause additional stress and a feeling of isolation for some staff. Among the findings from the 2021 Allianz report, titled Finding Balance in the Modern Workplace, is that two in five employees admit they do not have a transitional space between work and home, both mentally and physically, while 40% believe there is an expectation to work longer hours because of the pandemic. In addition, bosses need to be aware of possible health and safety legislation in relation to remote working practices.
Given rising concerns around employee welfare, insurers will likely want to know how a business is responding to such issues, including guidelines around working overtime outside the main office, compliance with management practices, and any safety concerns around designated work areas in the home.
This all means that employers can now find themselves under extra pressure to look after the welfare of their people in a blended work environment. So, it is vital to have adequate cover in place to protect against potential claims from employees.
Time for an insurance review
As workplace fallout from the pandemic continues, it makes sense for businesses to review their current insurance cover and possible future needs. This could involve changing the terms of their coverage, or simply adding new lines of coverage to meet new risks.
Devising effective insurance solutions can be difficult, of course, but seeking the support of specialist expertise whereby you get impartial and unbiased insurance advice can make a real difference. Such a process can ensure that business leaders look at their insurance policies through a remote and hybrid workplace lens.
Doing so is a smart move for businesses, their employees and their clients.
For more advice on how to navigate through hybrid workplace risks, speak to one of our experienced insurance experts.
The Directors & Officers (D&O) market has been one of the most challenging and stressed segments in the insurance marketplace for some time. High volumes of claims activity, particularly concerning securities class-actions, have dramatically impacted insurer profitability, leading to inflated premium costs and reduced market capacity.
Fortunately, some encouraging signs suggest that the volatile conditions that have disrupted the D&O market in recent years are starting to stabilise. The market is by no means reversing course entirely, but several key performance indicators suggest that the general outlook for insurance buyers is far more optimistic as we head into the second half of 2022.
According to multiple industry sources, the D&O market is finally returning to profitability following a sustained period of inflated premium costs that peaked in late 2021. Major legislative reforms to Australia's class action regime, which the Federal Government announced during the pandemic, has also boosted insurer appetite in the marketplace.
These developments, together with a dip in securities litigation frequency, are attracting fresh capacity from new insurers entering the market, driving a more competitive environment and providing some relief on pricing.
For example, a recent report published by Aon showed that the average rate increases experienced by their ASX 200 clients (primary rate per million dollars of capacity/sums insured) had dropped to less than 7% between 2020 and 2021; down from +18% in the previous year. They further reported that average premium increases for private companies had also dropped (in the main) for well-performing risks with no ongoing claims.
“We expect increases for this segment to ease further as the year goes on, particularly for companies whose risk profile is appropriately aligned with an insurers risk selection criteria”, Aon stated.
Increasing competition in the marketplace has also positively impacted self-insured retention levels (deductibles). As a result, insurers are becoming less inclined to impose higher deductibles – a common requirement in recent years – with many insurers generally willing to maintain the existing levels.
However, while the D&O market is showing signs of improvement and pressure on pricing is starting to ease, Aon caution that some insurers profit margins are still limited.
“For the first time in many years, the Combined Operating Ratio (“COR”) fell slightly below 100%”, Aon stated. “As D&O insurers' target for COR is between 80% and 88%, the market still has some way to reach a margin that allows them to deliver an acceptable dividend to shareholders”.
While the market outlook moving forward is generally trending in a more positive direction, securing D&O insurance will continue to be a challenge for some industries and businesses, particularly those impacted by COVID-19 and/or those with historical claims issues.
Many brokers believe that insurers will remain conservative when deploying their capacity and are likely to persist with targeted policy exclusions or limitations that enable them to control their own exposures more efficiently.
Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) risk is an emerging exposure for many companies and one that has become a major area of focus for insurers in the D&O space. Cyber security has also become a key focus, with many insurers placing higher demands on company directors to ensure appropriate reporting and cyber security systems are in place.
An increasing onus on company directors to effectively demonstrate their ability to manage these issues will continue to influence insurers’ appetite and impact the cost and availability of D&O insurance.
Ultimately, D&O insurers continue to impose higher premiums, but the rate of increases are declining. Companies that experienced severe adjustments in recent renewals are generally seeing smaller increases, while 'high-risk' accounts are still experiencing spikes in pricing.
Securing the right cover at a reasonable price will still be challenging for many organisations in what remains a complex D&O market. Organisations with ongoing/open claims, poor corporate governance, or weak balance sheets may struggle to see any benefit from the improving market conditions.
For this reason, your insurance broker's performance is crucial. As your spokesperson and exclusive representative in the marketplace, their ability to successfully sell your risks to insurers is critical to ensure you secure the best deal available in the current climate.
Navigating the world of business insurance can be fraught. So contact Australia’s leading specialist consultancy group that supports businesses through the complex exercise of implementing efficient insurance programs.
Extreme weather events continue to ravage communities around the world, with devastating bushfires and floods across Australia highlighting the risks in our own back yard, and hurricanes and fires terrorising North America. The rest of the world is not immune, either.
The losses have been enormous. According to Munich Re, climate-related insurance losses have hit more than US$100 billion a year globally, presenting challenges for governments and businesses alike while underlining the need for relevant and affordable insurance to mitigate risk, especially in relation to physical and liability risks.
For business leaders, tackling this insurance issue has become an important part of their due-diligence role.
Stress-test your enterprise
With more catastrophic events appearing to be inevitable, businesses face the prospect of spikes in insurance premiums or, worse still, not being able to get cover at all if they are deemed to be too great a financial risk to insurers.
So, it is crucial for businesses of all sizes to stress-test their exposure to climate risk to ensure their policies are relevant and that they match the latest market offerings. Over time, business conditions change and insurance may need to change with it.
The starting point to protect your business is to conduct a comprehensive review of environmental risks and insurance policies. Do you have cover for major weather events, and is it fit for purpose if an event does actually occur? To spread out their risks, insurance companies typically sell a diverse range of policies that cover a wide variety of scenarios, yet different businesses will always have different needs. This means a one-size-fits-all insurance approach is unlikely to be adequate.
For example, climate change presents particular challenges as many insurance policies are written on a one-year basis, whereas business and property owners need to assess risks that could happen over the lifetime of their operations.
Given such factors and, depending on the scale and complexity of your business, an insurance review can become a messy process for the uninitiated. This is where engaging with a broker or an external insurance specialist makes sense in so much as you can explore the best insurance offerings in domestic and international markets with greater certainty.
The role of advisers
Climate risk insurance covering areas such as property and casualty can help protect businesses from the ravages of extreme weather events. Given that insurance protects people and properties, it is no understatement to suggest that insurers and brokers have a significant responsibility to their clients when it comes to risks faced due to climate change.
Those threats are becoming more pronounced, leading to possible scenarios whereby insurance becomes too expensive for some businesses or making it impractical for insurers to provide coverage. The fallout from recent flood events in cities such as Lismore, NSW, and Gympie, Queensland, are a reminder of this dilemma.
As climate risks become more significant and immediate for businesses, the role of the broker will become more and more crucial as they educate and help their clients consider all forms of risk, climate risk included. Talking to clients about their strategies to mitigate climate risk, and bringing insights and research to the table, is essential.
Although an experienced broker can help you ensure that you maintain an optimal insurance program that factors in issues such as climate risk, the challenge in many cases is to find a broker who truly understands your business’s specific requirements and who can deliver the best possible on-budget insurance policy.
An independent insurance consultancy can help businesses implement and manage a competitive tender process for the provision of insurance broking services. Such a check can reveal any insurance shortfalls and give you confidence that your broker, your policies and premiums are appropriate.
The one apparent certainty in the years ahead is that climate-related risks are going to keep rising for businesses and communities. In combatting that danger, insurance will be an increasingly vital tool – if you make the right policy choices.
Seeking assistance from experts to ensure that you get the most appropriate cover at the right price is simply a smart business move.
For more details on mitigating climate risks and finding the best insurance deal for your business, speak to one of our experienced insurance experts.
According to the survey, these are the most significant risks business currently face:
“While pandemic outbreak has dropped in the rankings, the effects of COVID-19 on supply chains remains a major issue for Australian businesses”, says Mark Mitchell, Allianz’s Regional CEO, Global Corporate & Specialty for Asia Pacific.
“This is one of the reasons why business interruption tops the list of risks for 2022 in Australia and is a close second globally,” says Mark Mitchell.
He also believes that business interruption would be expected to worsen if further government-mandated lockdowns occurred.
“While these are not expected in response to the Omicron variant, this could occur if a new, more virulent variant emerged in 2022. That said, the impact Omicron is having on the workforce and supply chains suggests that business disruption, if not interruption, will be an ongoing issue for some months and possibly longer depending on the combined impact of COVID and the expected return of a traditional winter influenza season, as is currently occurring in the northern hemisphere." says Mark Michell.
Allianz says this is the second consecutive year that cyber risks have ranked high on the list, reflecting the severity of the impact of data breaches, ransomware attacks and other digital disruptions to businesses.
Since the pandemic broke, acts of cybercrime have spiked across the globe as hackers and digital criminals take advantage of the remote working conditions and a sharp uptake in online activity brought about by the ongoing health crisis.
"It is no surprise that cybercrime is the top Asia Pacific risk for the third consecutive year and second in Australia in light of the high-profile ransomware attacks, combined with problems caused by accelerating digitalisation and remote working."
“Following a year of unprecedented global supply chain disruption, business interruption is a consequence of many of the other risks in the rankings, such as cyber and natural catastrophes and will be a perennial concern for companies the world over and in Asia Pacific. Meanwhile, the pandemic has exposed the extent of vulnerabilities in modern supply chains, and how multiple events can come together to create disruption”. Mr Mitchell said.
Poorly structured insurance is not only a waste of money, but it can also have dire consequences for a company that is left without adequate safeguards against these risks.
Navigating the world of business insurance can be difficult. So, contact Australia’s leading specialist consultancy group that supports businesses through the complex exercise of implementing efficient insurance programs.
There are however some early signs of improvement. Recent findings from multiple industry sources suggest that the purchasing environment for insurance buyers is trending in a more positive direction across some (but not all) key segments of the market. Insurance premiums are expected to continue rising in most areas, but at a lower rate than 2021.
Below we highlight some industry trends and predictions which been extracted from comments made by various rating agencies, insurers, reinsurers, and insurance brokers on what you can expect in 2022 for your corporate insurance programs.
A Demand for Insurance Spurring Record Premium Volumes
According to Swiss Re’s latest sigma study, rising demand for insurance could lead to a new record in global premiums by mid-2022, exceeding USD 7 trillion. This expected growth reflects a rising risk awareness in the wake of the ongoing pandemic, increasing demand for protection, and rate hardening across the non-life insurance commercial lines.
Swiss Re predicts that non-life premiums will grow by 3.7% in 2022 and 3.3% in 2023. This is on the back of an estimated 3.3% growth in 2021.
“Market conditions suggest that positive pricing momentum will continue across all lines and regions,” said Jerome Haegeli, Swiss Re Group’s Chief Economist. “Inflation-driven higher claims development in all lines of business continued social inflation and persistently low interest rates will be the main factors for market hardening,”
The industry outlook is also supported by a strong cyclical recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, but economic growth is expected to slow in the next two years due to a growing crisis in energy prices, prolonged supply-side issues, and inflation risks, the study found.
Steady and Stable Despite Tricky Conditions
A recent study released by Fitch Rating’s shows that Property and Casualty (including Liability) insurers are poised to enjoy steady underwriting profits and earnings in 2022 despite challenges from higher inflation and a likely reduction in contributions from investment gains.
The study found that underwriting profitability for the Property/Casualty insurance industry is likely to improve to a combined ratio of 97% in 2022 due to continued favourable commercial lines pricing. However, if higher inflation persists, profitability and reserve strength would be expected to weaken in longer-tail segments, including certain liability lines. The report also indicated that evolving catastrophe risk exposures may add further volatility.
Fitch expects 2022 to be the fifth successive year of pricing increases, although at a lower rate than in 2021. Fitch’s analysts also believe that the risk of rising inflation will remain manageable for the industry in 2022.
AM Best has also revised its 2022 commercial lines market segment outlook from negative to stable across a number of key markets/geographies despite several near-term challenges including inflation, an uneven economic environment, and continued pressure on jury awards and settlement costs.
AM Best analysts cited the relatively modest negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, continued strong pricing momentum, and favourable rulings to date on many business interruption coverage disputes.
They also revised their outlook ratings from negative to stable for both commercial property and financial lines of insurance. However, the outlooks for commercial motor, general liability, medical malpractice, and professional liability lines remain negative.
Cyber Market Conditions Continue to Harden
Increasing claim payouts and shrinking profits is causing insurers to reduce the amount of cyber cover that they are willing to provide at a time when the demand for coverage is higher than ever.
All throughout 2021 insurers were looking to limit their exposures by limiting coverage and capacity while charging higher rates across the board, regardless of an organisations size or profession. According to one major global broker, rates increased on average by 50% for attractive, high-quality risks with minimal to no claims experience, while those with poor claims records or lacking security controls experienced significantly higher increases ranging from 100% to as much as 300% in some cases.
Insurers have also been adopting higher levels of scrutiny when evaluating risks, asking for more information around organisations cyber security controls than ever before.
S&P Global believes that the ongoing pandemic and remote working conditions emanating from the crisis have caused insured losses from cyber-attacks to skyrocket. This, in turn, has led to a heightened awareness of the risk and increased demand for cyber re/insurance.
“The trend toward digitalisation will inevitably lead to a higher likelihood of cyber incidents. Prices in the cyber re/insurance market could therefore rise sharply over 2022-2023, even doubling in some cases,” said S&P Global.
Anticipated / Expected Percentage Increases Across Major Classes
Property / Business Interruption:
Healthcare Professional Indemnity:
Marine Hull & Liability:
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