The Week in a Minute, March 16, 2012

  • Major insurers posted a 103.6CR last year, worse than 2010’s 97.5, Fitch reports. U.S. reinsurers didn’t do so hot, either, with 107 last year vs 95 a year earlier.
  • Solvency II had a tough week.
    • UK’s giant Prudential threatened to leave the EU because the rules would render its non EU business (88% of new writings) uncompetitive. Aegon made a similar threat a couple of years ago. Both insurers worry that the U.S. state-based regulatory scheme wouldn’t meet Solvency II’s standards, forcing both to hold more capital.
    • Late Thursday, ratings agency Fitch said, no worries – the EU will formally recognize the U.S. regulatory framework. But not before an EC spokesman noted the “old American system gave us AIG.”
    • The European insurance uber-regulator reaffirmed the need for the new regulatory plan.
    • Still, it didn’t help that a top Bank of England official worried aloud that for all its complexity, Solvency II won’t adequately regulate insurers. He suggested that insurers need to hold still more capital, but a banker would, wouldn’t he?
    • And British PM David Cameron got in his licks.
  • Towers Watson’s quarterly rate monitor, CLIPS, showed rates rising 3% in fourth quarter.
  • MarketScout introduced a personal lines rate monitor, which showed rates up 2% in February from a year earlier.
  • Almost exactly a year after the tragic Tohoku quake, aftershocks caused something under $100M damages, Eqecat reports.

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