Navigating the Challenges of the Year-End Property Market

Navigating the Challenges of the Year-End Property Market
Property Risk Management

02 of 09

This insight is part 02 of 09 in this Collection.

November 16, 2023 18 mins

Navigating the Challenges of the Year-End Property Market

Navigating the Challenges of the Year-End Property Market

Insurers continue to adapt and respond to the dynamic Property risk landscape by refining their appetite, coverage language, and underwriting practices.

Key Takeaways
  1. Valuations and geopolitical risks will continue to dominate underwriting discussions.
  2. Supply chain risk will continue to impact Contingent Business Interruption (CBI) coverage.
  3. Global reinsurance capital has rebounded but pricing will remain materially elevated.

Q4 has historically been an important time for the Property insurance market, as the peak reinsurance renewal season approaches, and the Atlantic hurricane season runs its course. This Q4 brings with it the additional complexities of persistent inflation, a slow supply chain recovery, and continued property and business interruption valuation concerns, along with geopolitical volatility. Insurers continue to adapt and respond to the dynamic Property risk landscape by refining their appetite, coverage language, and underwriting practices, and by working with Aon to develop approaches and solutions to meet clients’ evolving risk needs. 

 
Underinsurance Will Remain a Top Priority for Insureds and Insurers Alike

Driven largely by inflation, a slow supply chain recovery, and rising labor costs, property and business interruption values have increased materially. Insurance to value remains a top priority on risk management and underwriting agendas, as underinsurance has proven to lead to longer, more challenging claims adjustment processes and lower than ideal settlement values.

Insurers have responded by:
  • Requiring detailed descriptions of valuation methodologies
  • Imposing coinsurance/valuation limitation clauses/margin clauses where valuations are deemed under-reported or inaccurate.
  • Flagging renewals with reported values matching values from the previous year.
To navigate this challenge, Aon recommends that clients work with their Aon team to:
  • Reassess their valuations (e.g., by engaging professional appraisers), and conduct PML studies.
  • Be prepared to explain their values and the methodology used to calculate them.
  • Recalibrate their indemnity periods.
  • Review Coinsurance and Average Clauses in policies as these present specific risks.
  • Consider using proxy exposures that are less susceptible to inflationary impacts.

Geopolitical Events Will Trigger Underwriting Rigor and Coverage Clarifications

Current geopolitical events and civil unrest have had profound and widespread humanitarian and economic impacts – both immediate and long-term. Businesses may face a loss of revenue from damaged property and inventory, as well as from business interruption from direct or indirect causes (e.g., supplier and customer disruptions). There is also an increased risk of cyber attacks. Due to the widespread nature of these events, insurers have sought to limit their exposure through myriad actions.

Insurers have responded by:
  • Clarifying their intent (e.g., further limiting or excluding coverage) related to Strikes, Riots and Civil Commotion (SRCC), Terrorism, War, Political Violence, Cyber and Sanctions.
  • Adjusting their appetite to limit exposure in affected geographies and excluding affected geographies on existing placements.
  • Implementing rigorous underwriting practices related to coverage terms and extensions, loss history, Business Interruption redundancy measures, and local political outlooks.
To navigate this challenge, Aon recommends that clients work with their Aon team to:
  • Review policy language, limits, sub-limits and deductibles related to Cyber, Terrorism, War, Political Violence and Civil Unrest. Look closely at Sanctions Clauses and provisions related to physical loss or damage to property, business interruption and extra expense, as well as Ingress/Egress and Contingent Time Element (CTE).
  • Consider purchasing specific coverage for Political Risk, Special Risks, Cyber, War, Terrorism, SRCC, Travel, and Accident & Health. Talk to your Aon team about Alpha – Aon’s global facility for Terrorism and Political Violence coverage.
  • Reach out to your Aon Team and to your insurer(s) if your covered location(s) or operation(s) have sustained damage or if you believe business interruption has occurred.

Global Reinsurance Capital has Rebounded but Nat Cat Pricing Will Remain Materially Elevated

The reinsurance market capital increase in H1 2023 was principally driven by retained earnings, recovering asset values and new inflows to the cat bond market. Reinsurers’ underwriting and operating returns have improved year-to-date, due to increased insurer rates and portfolio retentions, tighter peril scope in terms/conditions and improved investment income. As economic inflation cools, reinsurers are shifting focus to social inflation that can impact high value claims costs and reserving implications for insurers.

(Re)Insurers have responded by:
  • Maintaining a highly disciplined and rigorous Nat Cat underwriting approach.
  • Offering additional supply based on a flight to quality and more name brands during June/July 2023 renewals.
  • Acting cautious, but responsive, to insurer needs for frequency coverage as we enter 2024 renewals.
To navigate this challenge, Aon recommends that clients work with their Aon team to:
  • Consider alternative capital solutions such as the catastrophe bond market.
  • Differentiate your portfolio with a custom view of risk and strong data to be prepared to challenge reinsurers’ broad assumptions.
  • Directly address reinsurers’ concerns on the impact of inflation on your portfolio and loss experience.
  • Use market data to guide placement decisions in the quickly evolving market.
  • Measure and quantify rating agency impact of program/structure changes on Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR) during the placement.

Supply Chain Risk Will Continue to Impact Contingent Business Interruption (CBI) Coverage

In today’s highly interconnected and complex risk environment, supply chain risk from a supplier location and its potential to disrupt business is a major concern among business leaders and risk managers. The aggregation of business risk can be difficult to quantify resulting in poor visibility into risk severity. Lack of information on the supplier’s facility attributes and protection leads to information gaps in the underwriting of CBI risk.

Insurers have responded by:
  • Limiting CBI coverage at supplier locations due to lack of supply chain visibility and low confidence in their ability to quantify the exposure.
  • Requiring detailed property underwriting information related to named suppliers / customers.
To navigate this challenge, Aon recommends that clients work with their Aon team to:
  • Map their supply chain to understand the revenue dependency on supplier locations.
  • Conduct a business interruption impact assessment for critical suppliers to quantify the exposure to the company from a loss at a supplier facility.
  • Select critical supplier locations for property loss prevention risk assessments. The construction, occupancy, protection, and exposures (COPE) information detailed in the report will provide the underwriter with information needed to underwrite the CBI risk.

General Disclaimer

The information contained herein and the statements expressed are of a general nature and are not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information and use sources we consider reliable, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

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