Property casualty insurance market hardening but outlook hazy: Hines panelists

Business Insurance

Sheena Harrison

June 5, 2012

CHICAGO—The property/casualty insurance market is hardening, but it is unclear whether rate increases are here to stay, panelists said Monday during the 2012 Harold H. Hines Jr. Memorial Symposium.

Three panelists discussed the evolving market and economic challenges during the symposium, titled “Navigating the Changing Marketplace.” About 150 attended the afternoon event at the Union League Club of Chicago.

Matt Keeping, New York-based chief placement officer of Willis North America Inc., said insurance markets appear to be firming. But he noted that insurers have "plenty of capacity," which is helping to drive a competitive insurance market across various lines.

“There are plenty of options for clients,” Mr. Keeping said. “It's a question of being able to weigh out those options….Staying with the same carrier may not always be the right thing to do. Actually, changing may not be the right thing to do either. It's quite a complex environment that we're working in at the moment.”

Thomas F. Motamed, Chicago-based chairman and CEO of CNA Financial Corp., said he has observed a “transitional” insurance market in recent months, in which some accounts still are experiencing rate reductions.

“People are quoting new business, in some cases aggressively,” Mr. Motamed said. “So it is definitely not the hard market that many of us seniors remember from prior decades. I think the markets are reprofiling.”

A crazy market means brokers better prepare renewal strategies way in advance and show clients all the savings they have obtained for them!