The 2016 Monte Carlo Rendez-vous drew many of the industry’s top reinsurance professionals to discuss the state of the market. The top ratings agencies also released their verdict on the market.

A.M. Best maintained its negative outlook due to weak operating fundamentals exacerbated by continued weakened demand from primary insurers as they retain more business to leverage their own excess capacity. According to A,N, Best Vice President Robert DeRose, “many industry participants feel or believe that the market is nearing bottom, or rate adequacy is finding its way to the bottom. The challenges for reinsurers will be to remain discipline and to make the decision as to whether to shed business going forward rather than continuing to entertain it.”

Fitch also remains negative on the sector, highlighting three major challenges for the market:

  • Evolving sector highlights diverging ability to manage change
  • Prospect of M&A could fuel complacency
  • Alternative capital capacity will continue to impact market.

S&P Ratings believes reinsurers having to withstand the “softer for longer” scenario with regard to rates.  Senior Director Dennis Sugrue sees opportunities for reinsurers in emerging risks like cyber and flood, or to provide coverage to address the ‘protection gap.’  However, he questions whether the sector is too slow to respond to changing dynamics to become relevant to its clients for the long term.

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