Commercial insurance rates in Asia

Commercial insurance rates in Asia are expected to climb in regions affected by natural disasters following record insurance losses in 2011, according to a comprehensive report published today by Marsh. The report also predicts that as competition among insurers for market share in many other lines of insurance remains strong, rates will continue to decline.

Substantial catastrophe losses prompted many insurers to seek rate increases in 2011, most notably in the property market, Marsh said in its report, Navigating the Risk and Insurance Landscape: Asia Insurance Market Report 2012. In disaster-hit regions, rate increases of over 30 percent are being experienced for natural catastrophe and some property risks, especially flood risk.

The report notes that the continued inflow of insurance capital, as underwriters seek to grow their Asian business, is preventing any across-the-board increases in premium rates. Local and regional insurers remain competitive, as the indigenous industry continues to become more sophisticated.

“Although reinsurance costs have risen following last year’s record losses, they are not being passed on to most insureds,” said Alan Cheah, Marsh’s CEO for Asia. “In addition, capital inflow, continued growth in the construction sector, and a heightened awareness of insurance and risk management have combined to lessen the effects of last year’s catastrophes on the broader market.

“Aside from increased property insurance rate increases — especially for those insureds with significant loss histories or catastrophe exposures — rate reductions for risks such as construction, general liability, professional indemnity and financial institutions are still achievable.”

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