Competition will only become fiercer: PwC Bermuda

27-01-2015

Many reinsurers will struggle to sustain new investment and competitive relevance despite lower costs and uplifts in premium rates.

This is according to Arthur Wightman, PwC Bermuda territory and insurance leader, who spoke at the ninth annual Bermuda Reinsurance conference sponsored by PwC Bermuda and S&P, titled Charting a Strategic Course in Unsettled Waters.

“Low interest rates, low growth, an abundance of capital, customers who are demanding even more specialised, creative and finally targeted solutions, brokers placing business towards narrowing panels of reinsurers with the highest rating or greatest expertise – these and more represent the challenges facing CEO’s today,” said Wightman.

“In spite of the complexity there is no shortage of fierce competitors who’ll leverage the disruption to create competitive advantage.”

More than 200 reinsurance industry leaders and professionals were joined by senior credit analysts from Standard & Poor’s and leaders from PwC’s reinsurance practice for six informative and interactive panel discussions.

“The reality of today is that hunkering down in the hope of a more favourable rating environment ahead is no longer a viable strategy for survival,” Wightman added.

“The ability to establish a value proposition that is differentiated, source new markets where pricing is at a premium and innovate outside the commoditised corners will truly set a course for long term success. There is no one model for the future. Indeed it is the differentiation and ability to play to your particular strengths that will be crucial.”

Guest speaker at the conference, Stephen Catlin, chief executive officer of Catlin Group, said: “I do believe personally that some of the fear that has been propagated (about the reinsurance market) is unfounded.”

He continued: “I don’t see alternative capital as a threat, I see it as an opportunity. It offers a different product - it’s a commodity as opposed to what the traditional transfer market offers.”

“I will leave you with two thoughts. One – we are very fortunate in that what we do adds social value. We should be proud of that and we should talk about it. The second point is relationships count – it’s important. It’s the foundation of our industry and long may that live in the future.”

To read about PwC’s Bermuda Reinsurance Conference in full, please click here.

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