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More Asia companies turn to captive insurance as a valuable risk management tool

Companies typically choose to retain more risk when insurance becomes expensive or too difficult to obtain. Download the 2023 Marsh Captive Landscape Report to discover current trends in the captive insurance market.

In the past three years, Marsh clients formed nearly 400 new captive entities – 100 in 2020, 132 in 2021 and 138 in 2022. Globally, Marsh Captive Solutions now manages approximately 1,900 captives and other entities across 55 domiciles — that equates to one in every four captives. 

Across all regions, captive insurance premium growth over the past two years continued to trend upward. Premium volume of Marsh-managed captives has topped US$70 billion, with surplus of almost US$120 billion. In particular, captives with Asia-based parents wrote 58% more premium.

Historically, captive growth has occurred during periods of rising commercial insurance pricing as buyers retain more risk. However, even as rate increases began to slow for certain lines of business and regions, captives continued to grow — a trend Marsh foresees continuing.

Captive insurance market: Interest in non-traditional lines continues to grow

Traditional property and casualty coverages continue to lead in the captive space, accounting for the largest segment of captive premium at 36%. Other coverages that Marsh-managed captives fund are: 

  • Life insurance: 30%
  • Employee benefits: 19%
  • Financial lines: 15%

Interest in non-traditional lines of captive insurance coverage also continues to grow. On the employee benefit side, medical stop-loss premiums in captives were up 32%, while in voluntary benefits it increased 39%. On the casualty side, directors and officers (D&O) liability increased 100%. And as the commercial cyber insurance market remained challenging, cyber premiums in captives have risen 57%, and notably the number of Marsh-managed captives writing cyber has increased by more than 75%.

Casualty coverage, long a backbone of captives, is also undergoing an evolution. Many captive owners want to know how to become smarter about what they are financing. There has been a lot of growth in the casualty space, with workers’ compensation remaining the biggest segment. The challenging market has caused some captive owners to ask how they can change their approach to get different results from the past. This is manifesting in such things as tie-ins to employee benefits, collaboration with HR, and growth and expansion of the captive footprint.

Third-party business had historically represented a small fraction of captive premium, but is now 27% of Marsh-managed captive premium. More captive owners are interested in capturing underwriting profit and investment income on cash flow associated with insuring third-party risks. In addition to diversifying the captive’s risk portfolio, third-party coverages — such as pet insurance, umbrella liability, automobile, and extended warranties — can enhance a captive’s profitability.

Putting such a diverse set of risk categories into the captive helps to spread volatility across multiple coverage lines, and can lower volatility in the captive itself.

Cell captives multiplying

Captives come in several forms, including single-parent captives, group captives, and protected cells, which is one of the fastest-growing forms. Cells are variously known as protected cell companies (PCCs), segregated portfolio companies (SPCs), segregated account companies (SACs), or incorporated cell companies (ICCs). Their names may vary from domicile to domicile, but their structure is similar in that each cell is individually capitalised and separated from other cells — and often referred to as a rent-a-captive.

1 in 4 of our new formations are protected cell captives, with advantages such as:

  • Up to 50% lower operating costs, compared to a single-parent captive.
  • Set-up time can be as short as a few days, rather than months.
  • Established infrastructure of service providers.
  • Potential to achieve same financial advantages as a single-parent captive.
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