The best of (Re)Connect

We have come to the end of the biggest and most ambitious virtual event Insurance Insider has ever hosted, with five days featuring insight from the most prominent executives in the industry and thought-provoking discussion.  

Over the past week, the (Re)Connect platform has welcomed 2,600 delegates, seen 1,700 instant messages sent and facilitated 100 live one-to-one video-enabled meetings.  

All this, alongside 19 fireside chats, nine interactive webinars, four closed-door executive roundtables, one live cocktail class and the biggest virtual awards evening in our industry (and you can find the winners here).  

We are keen to hear your feedback, and if you’d like to tell us what you thought of the event, you can do so by taking this short survey.  

In case you missed any of this jam-packed agenda, we have provided a summary featuring the best commentary on key themes below. You can watch any of the (Re)Connect sessions on demand here.   

You can also download the second of our (Re)Connect conference supplements here.  

Best on: Market conditions 

On Day 1, Munich Re CEO Joachim Wenning expressed “optimism” in the market and noted a new phenomenon in this cycle in the form of “spillover” effects to non-loss-affected programmes and regions.  

He said he expected to see “a couple more very good years with better rates”, although he pointed to a picture in cat that was more dependent on externalities than in casualty/liability lines.  

Hannover Re’s Jean-Jacques Henchoz also forecast accelerating momentum from mid-year renewals, which were +10% in excess of loss. 

Kevin O’Donnell of RenaissanceRe claimed the main driver of rate rises was the increasing cost of capital in the industry, while Ascot Group president Jonathan Zaffino said that some parts of the (re)insurance market still have more rate hardening ahead in order to achieve adequacy.   

“We're resetting the clearing price of risk and that has to happen,” Zaffino argued. 

Best on: Alternative capital 

ILS market capacity and appetite will be a major driver of renewal conditions in 2021, and our ILS panel estimated that around a third of ILS retro capacity could be taken out by Covid-19 trapping, with new inflows not expected to replace this supply.  

However, a hardening rate environment may lead to opportunity for run-off solutions for trapped capital, according to the former head of Tokio Millennium Re’s Bermuda branch and current ILS adviser Kathleen Faries

Everest Re CEO Juan Andrade said he believed third party capital “is generally here to stay. It’s paused but it will come back”.  

Scor chairman and CEO Denis Kessler also said he expected traditional reinsurance capital and ILS capital to grow in tandem with one another going forward.  

(The Scor chief also made some bullish statements on his firm’s independence, which you can read here.) 

Best on: Forward thinking  

The virtual gathering of industry professionals provided the perfect arena for looking ahead to the future.  

Swiss Re CEO Christian Mumenthaler took the opportunity to encourage the market to seize the chance to develop public-private partnerships that go beyond addressing pandemic risk, to other areas such as cyber.  

“We need more thinking ahead in risk management,” he urged. 

Meanwhile on a climate change panel RMS chief research officer Robert Muir-Wood warned that as the global atmosphere warms, more convection and warmer extremes occur that usher in myriad perils which the industry would need to find solutions for.   

Best on: Broking 

Both Aon’s Andy Marcell and Willis Re CEO James Kent took the opportunity to extol the benefits of the merger of their two companies.  

Kent said: “When you look at the merger of Aon and Willis, it puts that on steroids in terms of the scale and the scope of expertise that we’re able to provide to clients.” 

Referencing prior broker M&A deals including MMC-JLT, Marcell also said that these showed that “opportunities arise for other intermediaries to get additional capital and investment, which they have, and to lean into the marketplace thinking there is an opportunity to acquire talent and expand their business”. 

Challenger brokers also came out fighting, with Lockton Re CEO Tim Gardner claiming that his firm plans to use its tech capabilities and market “goodwill” towards its retail brand to compete with Aon and Guy Carpenter.  

“It’s a difficult environment for reinsurers if in the future they get 80-90% of their business from two sources. That’s not really a marketplace for them,” he said.  

McGill and Partners founder Steve McGill agreed that clients want to see alternatives for distribution and claimed his start-up firm was already representing 135 large corporate clients.  

Meanwhile, TigerRisk CEO Rod Fox also warned that capital providers would push back against the lack of choice: “The market has to be careful about the concentration of power.” 

Best on: Future-proofing the market 

Lancashire CEO Alex Maloney was among those who pointed out that returns were still way off being considered sustainably profitable, and that the market needed to build an enduring base from which to progress. 

“It is very hard to think about the future if you can’t make money today,” he said 

Much discussion focused around the future of trading and operating at Lloyd’s, with CEO John Neal claiming Lloyd’s could “rip up the underwriting room” and reimagine its use post-pandemic.  

During an in-depth webinar on Future at Lloyd’s delivery progress, updates were also given by COO Jennifer Rigby on developing the virtual underwriting room and the status of work on claims, delegated authority and placement.  

Meanwhile, IGI COO Hatem Jabsheh said he believed the Lloyd’s market was the most suitable arena to create a commoditised risk product to open up the (re)insurance sector to outside investors. 

The week’s agenda gave lots of food for thought for after the conference. For a recap, delegates can watch any of the sessions in full on demand here, and please do take our survey to give us feedback on the event. 

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