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AM Best notes that reinsurance companies in South and Southeast Asia (S / SEA) posted an improved combined ratio in 2021, although underwriting performance remains pressured with a continued reliance on investments to achieve bottom-line profitability.

20.09.2022 - 02:32:11

Best’s Market Segment Report: South and Southeast Asian Reinsurers Improve Underwriting Performance, but Challenges Remain

The new Best’s Market Segment Report, “Meeting Cost of Capital Elusive for South and Southeast Asian Reinsurers Despite Improved Underwriting Performance,” is part of AM Best’s month-long look at the global reinsurance industry ahead of Rendez-Vous de Septembre in Monte Carlo. According to the report, S/SEA reinsurers recorded an overall combined ratio of 108% in 2021, a five-percentage-point improvement from the recent high in 2019. Despite the improvement in technical performance, AM Best notes that overall return on equity declined to 3.4% in 2021 due to low investment yields amid a prolonged low interest rate environment in most S/SEA markets.

“Although investment returns are expected to increase over the near term alongside a recovery in interest rates, rising inflation in the region is likely to pose challenges in meeting the cost of capital prospectively,” said Kanika Thukral, senior financial analyst, AM Best.

AM Best still expects the segment to see stable growth, supported by the expansion of primary insurance markets with economic recovery and increased insurance penetration. Along with local and regional reinsurers, international reinsurance players have supported the development of S/SEA reinsurance markets as they consider the region to be to be instrumental to their growth and portfolio diversification strategies. In particular, international reinsurers remain crucial to supporting large property, engineering and marine risks.

The report notes that reinsurers in the region have approached 2022 renewals with a focus on achieving technical profitability, due to the expectations of a challenging investment landscape and an inflationary environment. Retrocession price hardening trend continued for loss-hit accounts; however, S/SEA reinsurers have not significantly amended their retrocession strategies and continue to rely on traditional forms of retrocession, despite increasing costs. Instead, market players have sought to focus on prudent exposure management while maintaining or moderately increasing retention levels in view of these retrocession conditions.

“Even with rate improvements in the past two renewal seasons, the pricing increases may not be enough to see significant improvement in technical profitability given expected increases in loss costs should higher inflation persist,” said Michael Dunckley, director, analytics, AM Best. “Reinsurers will need a prudent investment and retrocession strategy, along with continued underwriting discipline.”

To access the full copy of this market segment report, please visit http://www3.ambest.com/bestweek/purchase.asp?record_code=324090. Additional reports, including AM Best’s annual ranking of the Top 50 global reinsurance groups and in-depth looks at the insurance-linked securities, Lloyd’s, life/health and regional reinsurance markets, are available. In addition, a short video interview about this report also can be viewed at http://www.ambest.com/v.asp?v=ambglobalreapse922.

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

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