Stephen Catlin: this is the hardest market in 50 years
The current hard market is unprecedented in his half century in the industry, a leading re/insurance executive told an international audience on Monday at the second annual Bermuda Risk Summit.
Stephen Catlin, executive chairman of Convex, said: “In 50 years, I have never seen a market quite like this. I have never seen potential opportunities to have as much length as they potentially have here.
“The main reason for that in my view is that the investor in whatever shape or size, whether it be private or public, have actually lost appetite in investing in the insurance balance sheet.
“And the reason for that is the returns in the last ten years are just grossly inadequate for the risks we take as an industry.”
He added: “People talk about new capital coming in – it will happen at some point, I agree with that completely – but do I see it happening anytime soon? No, I don’t actually.”
Of the current market, Mr Catlin added: “I have never seen this before – I am very excited.”
He was sitting on the panel, the Bermuda Angle; chief executive officer of Market View and Strategic Lens, moderated by Sophie Roberts, head of The Insurer TV.
Mr Catlin was joined by Peter Bell, CEO and managing director, Everest Reinsurance; Christopher Schaper, chief executive, AIG Re and deputy chairman of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers; and Megan Thomas, chief executive of Hamilton Re.
Mr Schaper said: “The hard market in front of us is going to be here for a while, and that’s a positive situation overall for the industry. Ultimately, it will change, but it’s going to take a bit to get there.”
The summit began with a “seaside chat” between David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, and David Hart, chief executive of conference presenters, the Bermuda Business Development Agency.
Mr Burt said that Bermuda is open for business, and he stressed the island’s status as the world’s risk capital, as well as the Bermuda insurance industry’s well-earned reputation for innovation.
The three-day conference has attracted more than 450 delegates, of which 150 are from overseas, which is double last year’s overseas contingent, Mr Hart said.
Conference visitors have travelled from the United States, Britain, Europe and Asia, he said.
The event continues tomorrow and Wednesday at Hamilton Princess and Beach Club.
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