Standard & Poor's recent published report on the reinsurance sector predicts global reinsurers are facing a potential credit rating downgrade as the industry has nowhere to hide from mounting competition.
The situation appears to be very similar for the specialist energy insurance market. In Marsh’s latest Energy Market Monitor, there is a focus on the upstream and downstream operational markets, but similar comments would apply for the specialist construction liability or terrorism markets.
The first few months of 2014 have shown some of the following trends:
A very strong risk appetite.
Capacity inflation from many corners of the energy market.
New capital streams changing the dynamics of the market, making it, we believe, the most volatile it has been for a generation.
A downward trend in pricing across the key energy classes as a result of:
Reduced reinsurance costs.
Positive results (particularly in the upstream area).
Management focus on growth.
There is clearly renewed competition in the marketplace after three years of being “stable” which must bode well for energy insurance buyers.
The market is buzzing with talk of “softening”. Many are now predicting that the softening trend will only accelerate in the months leading up to the key renewal dates of June 1 and July 1.