Column: Roger's Soapbox

Perspective | Here’s A Comprehensive List of Just How Much the Market Has Changed in 10 Years

By: | October 12, 2018

Roger Crombie is a United Kingdom-based columnist for Risk & Insurance®. He can be reached at [email protected]

The Bermuda reinsurance market is usually seen as stable, and perhaps uninteresting. Those are, of course, exactly the attributes one hopes for in a reinsurance market — especially one of the world’s largest.

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‘Stable’ is a relative term, however. In the past decade, more than half of the 25 insurance and reinsurance companies rated the largest 10 years ago have been sold, lock, stock, and claims department. One company, Chubb (which was ACE 10 years ago) has expanded dramatically.

The 13 companies sold saw $56 billion-plus between them. The 11 that have remained independent had equity of $46.5 billion this summer ($32.9 billion 10 years ago). Using data from Q2 2008 and Q2 2018 (or the nearest practicable date), these are the details:

  • ACE (capital 10 years ago $16.7 billion): Bought and became Chubb; now the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurer, with capital of $51.0 billion.
  • XL Capital ($9.3 billion): Bought by AXA of France for $15.3 billion.
  • Everest Re Group ($5.6 billion): Capital now $8.2 billion.
  • AXIS Capital ($5.4 billion): Capital now $5.3 billion.
  • White Mountains Insurance Group ($4.7 billion): Capital now $2.9 billion.
  • PartnerRe ($4.5 billion): Bought in 2016 by Exor, an Italian insurer affiliated with the Agnelli family, for $6.9 billion.
  • Arch Capital Group ($4 billion): Capital now $10 billion.
  • Renaissance Re ($3.4 billion): Capital now $4.9 billion.
  • Catlin Group ($3 billion): Bought by XL Group in 2015 for $4.2 billion.
  • Aspen Insurance ($2.9 billion): Bought this year by investment funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management for $2.6 billion.
  • OIL Insurance ($2.9 billion): Capital now $4.4 billion.
  • Endurance Specialty ($2.5 billion): Bought in 2017 by Sompo Holdings for $6.3 billion.
  • Allied World Assurance ($2.4 billion): Bought by Canada’s Fairfax Financial Holdings in 2017 for $4.9 billion.
  • IPC ($2.1 billion): Bought by Validus in 2009 for $1.4 billion.
  • Validus ($2.0 billion): Bought this year by AIG for $5.6 billion.
  • Platinum Underwriters ($1.9 billion): Bought in 2017 by Renaissance Re for $1.9 billion.
  • Hiscox ($1.6 billion): Capital now $2.4 billion.
  • OneBeacon Insurance Group ($1.6 billion): Bought in 2017 by Intact Financial of Canada for $1.7 billion.
  • Montpelier Re ($1.6 billion): Bought by Endurance for $1.8 billion in 2015.
  • Max Capital ($1.5 billion): Bought by Markel in 2013 for $3.1 billion.
  • Assured Guaranty ($1.5 billion): Capital now $6.6 billion.
  • Argo Group International ($1.4 billion): Capital now $1.8 billion.
  • Lancashire ($1.3 billion): Capital now $6.6 billion.
  • Flagstone Reinsurance ($1.2 billion): Bought in 2012 by Validus for $0.6 billion.
  • AEGIS ($1.1 billion): Capital now $1.6 billion.

Share undervaluations and buybacks; greater regulation and taxes; and the relatively low incidence of hurricanes and resulting softness of the reinsurance market for some years now, are the main reasons contributing to what appears to be relatively slow equity growth in some of those companies that have remained independent.

Equally, some of the 13 companies sold during the 10-year period might have remained independent had the market not been moored in the doldrums.

Ten years is not a long time in a long-tail industry. It has been time enough, apparently, for significant change in one of the world’s most stable markets. &

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]