Within the insurance market, 2011 will be remembered as one of the costliest years on record characterised by significant catastrophe claims and challenging market conditions.
Overall the rating environment continues to be soft. This combined with decreased investment returns resulted in all the benchmarked insurers reporting a decrease in return on equity.
The reduction of capital in the market during 2011 will force insurers to focus on underwriting discipline rather than volume during 2012 to ensure appropriate returns on equity. Rate increases have been seen on certain lines of business, especially in the challenging catastrophe market, but overall rates are expected to remain fairly soft. Investment conditions are expected to continue during 2012, with the continuing European debt crisis.
This publication reviews the reported performance and position of selected listed general insurers. It compares performance, disclosure and accounting policies and provides an outlook on the operating environment and the challenges general insurers will face in 2012.