In a market update for clients, Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, has highlighted that overall placements in the international market through its Global Markets Hub have increased by 67% year on year to reach USD525 million in premium, despite the unusual business conditions created by the events of 2020. Key points included:
- Embracing technology – the market has embraced remote working as well as the use of electronic placing platforms such as PPL. The collaboration between brokers and underwriters means that month end binding has become more efficient. Equally, markets have in the main remained pragmatic in the face of COVID claim notifications recognising that client stakeholders may expect notification to be made without coverage or quantum being established at this stage.
- Political and societal uncertainty – coverage for Strike, Riots and Civil Commotion has come under scrutiny from certain markets following the Black Lives Matter protests although this continues to be available within the property market. In a few instances the specialist market has provided a more competitive solution.
- Silent Cyber – firmer market conditions have enabled underwriters to follow through on their stated determination to eliminate “silent cyber.” Cyber is now much more likely to be specifically excluded or affirmatively covered in many lines of insurance.
Commenting on the market update, Garret Gaughan, Head of Property & Casualty Global Markets Hub, said ’Despite being what is undoubtedly the most unusual period of my career, the first half of 2020 has shown that the international market is able to step in at times of uncertainty. Whilst there has been upward pressure on pricing we have been able to work with underwriters, in extraordinary circumstances, to continue to fill out placements and meet clients’ coverage needs, which is a testament to the strength of the market.’
Mr Gaughan, added “However, the direction of travel does not look set to change anytime soon. This is being compounded by the predicted above normal hurricane season. Whilst the insured losses to date have been modest these continue to erode the premium base for many carriers and a more significant loss from future storms will only lead to a tougher marketplace.”