Moody’s: pandemic has improved systemic risk management

Rating agency Moody’s has said that the pandemic has pushed reinsurers to be more prudent on systemic risk management, including where communicable disease, cyber events and climate change are concerned.

The observation was made as Moody’s Investors Service revised its outlook for the global reinsurance industry from negative to stable, saying that price increases are set to drive stronger earnings for the sector going forwards.

Despite the fact the industry is again facing higher than average catastrophe losses, plus continued uncertainty over the pandemic and also economic pressures including inflation, Moody’s now feels price increases are enough to set reinsurers on course for better returns and profits.

Moody’s summarised its outlook by saying that reinsurance price increases are set to drive stronger earnings through 2022 amid the post-pandemic economic recovery while reinsurer capitalisation remains solid, with solvency ratios well above the required regulatory thresholds.

“Healthy price increases will drive stronger earnings through 2022 as the post-pandemic economic recovery and recent significant catastrophe losses fuel fresh demand for reinsurance,” explained Helena Kingsley-Tomkins, a senior analyst at Moody’s.

“The sector’s capitalisation remains solid, with solvency ratios resilient in a range of stress scenarios.”

Moody’s highlighted a number of key factors driving better fortunes for the reinsurance industry. Among these are the fact that property reinsurance prices are continuing to rise, driven by recent natural catastrophe losses, and a re-evaluation of secondary peril risks, including winter storms, flooding and wildfires.

Casualty pricing also remains strong, Moody’s said, with most lines driven by higher demand, loss cost trends and low investment yields.

While COVID liability uncertainty has diminished, Moody’s said that pandemic-related claims continue to affect earnings for some of the large multiline reinsurers in 2021, largely on the mortality side.

Moody’s also explained that alternative capital is returning to growth in 2021. The rating agency believes that traditional reinsurance firms that have strong third-party capital management platforms will be well-positioned to take advantage of new opportunities.

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