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Hard Marketing Coming?

Posted on 21 Jan 09

Advisen Ltd., provider of information, analytics, and technology to the global commercial insurance industry, recently released a report predicting that the commercial insurance premium market cycle is close to its bottom and that general commercial insurance prices will begin increasing by the fourth quarter of 2009 or the first quarter of 2010. Advisen research is based on its own industry-leading database of premium history and its database of the financial performance of 13 million companies.

“In years past, insurance companies recouped underwriting losses with investment income, but in 2008 the combination of underwriting losses and material investment losses means a five-year soft market is coming to an end,” said David K. Bradford, Advisen Executive Vice President and Chief Knowledge Officer. “The global recession may delay the return of hard market conditions by keeping demand for insurance down, but once the hard market sets in, it is likely to last longer than was the case in recent cycles.

“In previous hard markets, price increases attracted new capital investment to the market, and the increase in insurance supply led to short hard market cycles,” continued Bradford. “In the current economic environment, where credit markets are essentially frozen, capital to create new insurance and reinsurance capacity may be in short supply. With capital scarce, the coming hard market could be longer in duration than those of the past several decades.”