Atlas Magazine October 2005

A devastating summer

It is under the hangover effect that insurers and reinsurers met in early September in Monte Carlo, the venue deemed by the insurance business as the market's genuine barometer.

For reinsurers, the restart was very disastrous with a series of natural catastrophes on the table along with the late summer plane crashes.

No region on earth was spared the various calamities such as fires, droughts in Southern Europe, deadly floods in India, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Rumania, a series of typhoons in China and Japan, adding color, cyclones in the Gulf of Mexico with destructive violence of unprecedented scale.

The reinsurers, hoping for a slowdown or cuts in tariffs, are well on the agenda. With Katrina and Rita on the menu, some risk to be driven out of business.

Only few reinsurers, whose financial solidity has been severely tested, have emerged victors out of this deadly summer.

Ultimately, it is Munich Re and — to a lesser degree — Swiss Re that will make the best of the situation as their stock market shares have been boosted by the Katrina effect which placed them in pole position to lead the next renewal under their own terms and conditions.

The big losers, however, seem to be the Bermudans, the London market whose convalescence is likely to be disturbed, and the big retrocession-consuming reinsurers.

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