Joe Louwagie, AVP at Property Claim Services (PCS-a Verisk Analytics business), joins to assess the 2015 Nat Cat season, its impact on the insurance, reinsurance and capital markets, and how developments in data management and technology are affecting risk and claims management.

Mr. Louwagie says the current Cat season continues a trend PCS has seen for the past few years: higher frequency, but fewer big events. PCS has designated 33 Cat events in 2015; there were 32 in 2014 – both above the historic average of 27 events. He says the El Nino in the Pacific Ocean is having the predicted effect, creating a sparse 2015 Hurricane Season.

According to Mr. Louwagie, the lack of a major event means reinsurance and capital markets have strong balance sheets, and cedents are “firmly in the driver’s seat in terms of rates and terms.” For smaller carriers, however, attritional catastrophes and higher frequency puts pressure on aggregate covers, and local/regional carriers have a disproportionate share of local catastrophes.

The natural catastrophes that receive the most focus are those that occur with the most frequency. Mr. Louwagie says convective weather, such as hail and wind make up about 80-90 percent of catastrophes annually. In the past few years, winter storms have received a lot of attention. All require higher levels of competence in claims, customer service and expense management. While the industry is also focused on extreme perils, such as volcanic eruptions, meteorite impact, tsunamis following earthquakes, the challenge is a lack of data.

Access to and the accurate use of data is critically important to underwriting and rate making. Mr. Louwagie points out that those responsible for housing data in the insurance industry is changing. Traditionally, insurers and companies like ISO supplied sufficient data for rate-making. Technologies such as “Smart Home” devices, and exchanges like the Verisk Telematics Data Exchange, provide important information for carriers to consider in underwriting. Technologies, like drones and mobile applications, are sparking innovation in claims management as well.

As we head toward the end of 2015, Mr. Louwagie believes it is an important time for E&S cedents to access capital markets.

For more from the 2015 NAPSLO Convention, visit the On Demand Library.

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