Insurers have shifted their focus from topline premium and growth towards rate adequacy. New modelling and technical tools are being utilised more than ever as insurers want to understand the complex technicalities of cargo risks.
The major international cargo insurers are reconsidering the insurability of cargo of concern (for example thermal coal) in relation to zero emissions targets as companies dealing with such cargo, such as miners, traders or major users may have difficulties to secure the insurance they need in the future.
With regard to thermal coal it still seems that cargo insurers who do underwrite the commodity business tend to focus on those accounts where the volume of thermal coal provided is within a certain tolerance limit, i.e. below or about 20% of the total turnover or revenues. Discussions are rife, especially in the lead-up to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) being held in November 2021 in Glasgow, UK, and with the IEA Report on net-zero emissions by 2050 and the latest UN Report having recently been issued.
In December 2020, Lloyds issued their Environmental, Social and Governance Report which included various undertakings, the two most prominent being:
Furthermore, eight of the world’s leading insurers and reinsurers, working together with the UN Envi- ronment Programme Finance Initiative, are currently in the process of establishing a pioneering Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA).
Overview & Expectations
We expect the London and mainland European cargo markets to be pressing for some continued base rate increases where business warrants it and where they are able to do so. However, through the first half of 2021 we have begun to see some softening of general increases and with some insurers beginning to look quite aggressively for new business opportunities available to them. If this trend develops, we expect the renewal business with little or no adverse claims histories and the right profiles to be considered “as before” renewals as we reach the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022.
Marine Cargo renewals have been subject to price increases of between 15% to 40%. Automotive, pharmaceutical, commodities and retail stock throughput accounts will continue to be the most affected.
Specific changes to the underwriters’ appetite include:
Insurers have shifted their focus from topline premium and growth towards rate adequacy. New modelling and technical tools are being utilised more than ever as insurers want to understand the complex technicalities of cargo risks. As natural perils remain a key focal point globally, we expect longer turnaround times for quotes as well as significant rate changes for most exposures in the region. Good data quality, including surveys, COPE, risk management forms, and so on, will help us to provide our clients with more favourably rated insurance contracts.
Lead lines are expected to remain conservative, and the expected reduced capacities will come with the added difficulty of some insurers not wishing to reinsure their competitors.
We will continue to see a disconnection between the local Eastern European markets and international markets in terms of rates. However, this gap is slowly closing as most local insurers face an increase of reinsurance costs and are thus unable to sustain reduction demands
Group Practice Leader Cargo
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