Continued economic growth and low natural catastrophe losses, combined with strong competition between insurers in most classes of business, will continue to provide favourable market conditions for buyers of commercial insurance in Asia during 2013, according to a report published today by Marsh.
Organisations across Asia, especially those with little or no exposure to natural catastrophe risk or with good loss histories, should be able to secure reductions on their insurance rates, continuing a trend begun in the second half of 2012, Marsh noted in its Asia Insurance Market Report 2013.
However, Asian companies offering employee benefit programs can expect more challenging conditions this year as medical cost inflation continues to escalate significantly, putting upward pressure on rates.
For example, Marsh expects insurers to seek average rate increases of up to 35% in Thailand where medical inflation is expected to rise between 20% and 25% this year. An upward trend, with local variations, is expected to be seen in most Asian countries.
Marsh also noted that while rates for directors and officers (D&O) insurance for US-listed Chinese companies remained high the market had largely stabilised, partly due to a slow-down in IPO activity.
Across the rest of Asia, D&O rates generally remained flat or decreased, as increased litigation against directors was offset by an increase in insurance capacity.
“The insurance market in Asia remains generally favourable to buyers as the flow of capital, capacity and competition into the region keeps rates competitive,” says Martin South, CEO of Marsh in Asia-Pacific.
“However, there will always be the possibility of spikes in premiums following large market losses. As the industry matures, clients should focus on providing their insurers with robust evidence of their risk management and mitigation strategies, not only to secure competitive pricing, but also to ensure they have insurance protection aligned to their particular risk needs.”
The report also finds that employees’ compensation (workers’ compensation) in Hong Kong continues to be a challenging market. Rates continue to rise significantly as loss experiences deteriorate and major insurers enter and exit the market, creating significant turbulence.
Banks continue to use structured trade credit insurance as a way to both deleverage their balance sheets yet still remain active in the trade finance market in Asia.
Professional liability insurance remains a buyers’ market, with highly competitive rates across Asia as new insurer entrants bring additional capacity and competition to the market, says the report.