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Willis: Airline Industry Losses Hit 5-Year Low

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Posted on 14 Sep 2011

The airline industry had a relatively turbulent free start to the third quarter, with losses hitting a five-year low of US$794 million, according to the latest report from the Aerospace division of Willis Group Holdings, the global insurance broker.

The company’s monthly Airline Insurance Insight report indicates that the insurance market has remained remarkably stable, with no change from the drivers of capacity and claims. The lack of fatalities in the three major losses that did occur in July reflects excellent safety performance of the industry, which has delivered some good fortune for underwriters in the wake of an extremely volatile year for other industries.

Despite the healthy climate, July was one of the busiest periods of the year in the airline insurance market, according to Willis. The renewals again witnessed the trend for low single digit premium increases against higher levels of exposure sectors.

One positive result is that increased exposures do not directly translate into claims, though Willis observes that the flip side from an insurer’s perspective is the market has been unable to translate that growth into comparable premium volumes. The most influential market factor remains the level of capacity, which does not look set to diminish any time in the near future.

The three major losses that occurred in July represent a continuation of the trend for high valued hull losses. While this type of loss is a direct drain on the cash reserves of underwriters, it also provides some certainty on liability.

Commenting on the report, Steve Doyle, Business Development and Sales Director for Willis Aerospace, said: "With the current neutral market situation there appears to be a repeated clamour to understand the ramifications whenever a loss occurs. It must be remembered that responding to losses is the function of the market. The market is there to service the needs of an increasingly exceptionally safe industry and, therefore, needs a shift in overall trading conditions to significantly change."

Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global insurance broker. Through its subsidiaries, Willis develops and delivers professional insurance, reinsurance, risk management, financial and human resource consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public entities and institutions around the world. Willis has more than 400 offices in nearly 120 countries, with a global team of approximately 17,000 employees serving clients in virtually every part of the world. Additional information on Willis may be found at


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