E+S Rück expects improvements in prices and conditions for P&C reinsurance in Germany
Baden-Baden - E+S Rückversicherung AG, the Hannover Re subsidiary responsible for the Group's German business, expects further price increases and improved conditions in the 1 January 2024 renewals in property and casualty reinsurance.
Natural disasters and persistently high inflation have again taken a toll on the German insurance industry in the current year. The resulting ongoing rise in reconstruction and repair costs continues to adversely impact the insurance sector's profitability.
"We must assume that the multi-year trend towards higher claim payments will continue. Adequate prices are indispensable if we are to be able to offer our clients the best possible reinsurance capacity in the future, as we have in the past," said Dr. Michael Pickel, Chief Executive Officer of E+S Rück, at this year's reinsurance gathering in Baden-Baden. "Particularly at a time of many different interrelated challenges, it is therefore vital for us as a reinsurer to tackle these issues and design solutions jointly with our partners. Moving forward, then, we shall continue to stand by our clients as their partner in managing losses caused by climate change and natural catastrophe risks – just as E+S Rück has done for 100 years."
The insurance industry around the world increasingly finds itself faced with the effects of extreme weather phenomena. In Germany, too, the issue of coverage for impacts from heavy rain, flood, windstorm or hail as well as the associated costs remains very much front of mind. After all, it is equally relevant to private households and commercial / industrial clients alike.
At the same time, E+S Rück expects motor insurance in Germany – the largest line of property and casualty insurance by volume – to close heavily in the red this year. Furthermore, persistently high inflation is pushing up claims expenditures in property insurance, leading to pressure for further adjustments.
Average claims in motor insurance have again surged significantly in the current year, while at the same time the tariff adjustments made so far have failed to achieve the desired effects.
"Sharply above-average increases in the costs of spare parts and repairs as well as higher claims frequencies are causing massive losses and remain a heavy drag on motor insurers' profitability," said Dr. Michael Pickel. "Against this backdrop, we take the view that adjustments to prices in motor insurance are unavoidable in the coming years to move out of the red and restore business to a profitable footing over the long term. We expect to see gradual progress in this respect."
While losses under natural catastrophe covers were, if anything, below average in the first six months with summer storms "Lambert" and "Kay", considerable claims expenditure was incurred in August from a series of storms centred on southern Germany. With this in mind, 2023 is again expected to see substantial losses overall from catastrophe covers.
It can be anticipated that sustained high rates of inflation as well as the trend towards adding natural perils covers to existing contracts will drive claims expenditures for the industry even higher in the future. Parallel to this, capacities on the reinsurance market remain tight overall, while at the same time demand for natural perils coverage is on the rise. All in all, then, prices for catastrophe covers look set to increase further.
High inflation has kept up the pressure for adjustments in industrial and commercial business, even though business interruptions due to supply chain bottlenecks have normalised somewhat of late. At the same time, claims numbers and expenditures in connection with large fire losses have increased. These developments should be reflected accordingly in modified scopes of coverage and conditions. In the liability line, discussions among market players will likely be similarly dominated in the year ahead by the issue of inflation as well as by the insurability of risks associated with so-called forever chemicals (PFAS).
After the sharp price increases seen in past years, the capacities offered by existing and new market players for cyber covers should result in price stabilisation on a higher level. In view of rising claims expenditures, however, the pressure to make adjustments remains. Controlling and limiting cyber accumulation scenarios have taken on added relevance, as is also evident in contract terms and conditions.
"Despite the challenging market environment, I am confident about the upcoming renewal round, because our customer relationships and thus also the upcoming negotiations are always characterized by a cooperative partnership with all market participants," said Dr. Michael Pickel.