The aerospace insurance market was challenging in the first quarter of 2021, and will likely remain so for the near term, continuing a trend that began in the third quarter of 2018. Pricing increases have been driven, in part, by challenging insurance market conditions across all major product lines, factors involving the various aerospace subsectors, and the wider aviation insurance market. The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these underlying market drivers.
Pricing trends in the aerospace sector in the first quarter of 2021 can be viewed in light of a number of factors, including:
1. Macroeconomics. Along with some sector-specific factors, the aerospace industry has been impacted by the wider trend of increasing prices across the entire (re)insurance industry.
2. Insurers’ historical and COVID-19 losses. Insurers have said that pricing increases are required in order for them to recapitalize following a series of major aerospace losses, and to reflect the impact of COVID-19 in eroding the 2020 premium base in the airline sector.
3. Loss development/deterioration. Social inflation, increased litigation, and rising liability awards — most pronounced in the US — are emerging as global issues.
4. Increased reinsurance costs. Increases in insurers 2020-2021 reinsurance premiums have increased their cost base, meaning they will look to increase their written premium through growth and/or through rate increases for existing clients.
5. Resilience to COVID-19. Business resilience to COVID-19 has varied greatly in the aerospace sector. Insurers have largely resisted requests to return premiums and/or to re-rate retrospectively.
6. Capacity. After several years of capacity contraction, we have begun to see new entrants to the aerospace insurance market, although appetite varies greatly across subclasses.
1. Prepare and start early
With increased management scrutiny, underwriters are becoming more selective and asking for detailed risk information. It’s important to understand the key information that insurers will require, and to allow adequate time for negotiation.
2. Understand your priorities
In a challenging market, it’s important to know your priorities and recognise there may be a need to compromise with insurers. For example, which is more important to you: breadth of coverage, top limit of sum insured, minimising the level of self-insured retention (SIR), or the overall premium spend? Having a clear strategy in place before commencing negotiations with insurers will be helpful.
3. Respect long-term relationships, but challenge the status quo
A strong, long-term relationship with a lead insurer can help bring beneficial results at renewal. Still, it is important to understand the context of your renewal quote and whether it might be beneficial to seek alternatives based on a different structure, renewal date, and/or lead insurers. Try to build a relationship with at least one following market that could “step up” if there is an insurmountable issue with the incumbent lead.
4. Differentiate through risk management
Share with underwriters the details of risk management policies and procedures you have in place, with specific reference to how they mitigate exposures. Insurers now are particularly interested in how organisations plan to return safely to normal following COVID-19. Remember: Many policies have a risk bursary that can partially fund such projects.
5. Use Marsh Specialty’s expertise
Marsh Specialty has vast experience in the aviation insurance sector. Our specialists will work with you, providing clear, considered advice to develop an effective renewal strategy. Our data and analytics capabilities will allow you to understand your programme in the context of the wider market.