London insurance market stands firm despite year of catastrophes

London insurance market stands firm despite year ...

The London insurance market stands resilient and insurers are confident they can meet their claims

Also on

Press Release

2011 will be remembered as an exceptional year for the insurance industry, with record losses in the catastrophe market and key players posting losses in their half-year statements. However, KPMG’s General Insurance Performance Benchmarking Survey emphasises that the London Insurance Market remains robust despite the high volume of large claims.  

The KPMG report analyses the 2011 half-year results for nine London Market insurers which were dominated by significant catastrophe claims, soft rating conditions and deflated investment returns.  

Mark Winlow, UK head of General Insurance at KPMG, commented: “The first six months of the year brought substantial catastrophe claims and a high incidence of large losses. In addition, soft rating conditions and an ongoing challenging investment climate have also played their part to create a challenging environment. Consequently, the half year statements from the London Market players covered in our report were dominated by these pressures, with eight out of nine insurers analysed posting financial losses for the year to date."   

“Despite these challenges, the news for the London insurance market is not as bad as it might initially appear. This sector of the market is resilient and insurers are confident in their ability to meet their claims. It will undoubtedly be a hard year, but the insurers have recovered from challenging periods in the past and this time around they appear to have enough capital to absorb losses.” The report also predicts that the remaining half of the year will entail consolidation, premium increases and a renewed focus on cost management for the sector."

Mark Winlow continued: “One thing that does seem likely is a focus on consolidation in the short and medium-term. This will be fuelled partly by the desire for growth, and partly by Solvency II, which is demanding a greater level of requirement around capital."

“Premiums are also destined to rise, which will act as a buffer for the market. However insurers will have to be circumspect and realistic, and these increases will not be across the board. Some territories or classes of business may see quite marked price increases. Property and transportation are the areas of greatest fluctuation and we’ve already seen Japanese rates go up by 60 per cent. The challenge for the London Market will be how much their customers can stand; understanding the level of premium increases compared to customer demands."

“In addition to raising premiums, insurers will need to find ways to trim their costs which is leading to more looking at initiatives such as outsourcing. All in all a challenging environment for international insurers but the London Market is standing firm.”  

- ENDS - 

The KPMG General Insurance Performance Benchmarking Survey summarises the 2011 half year results for nine London Market insurers for whom a significant proportion of their operations are based in the UK. The report is available on request or here.  

For further information please contact: 

Monica Fiumara

Senior PR Manager KPMG

T: 020 7694 5674

M: 07901 105180


KPMG Press Office: +44 (0) 207 694 8773   

About KPMG  

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with nearly 11,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.6 billion in the year ended September 2010. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 150 countries and have more than 138,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. KPMG International provides no client services.  

This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

Connect with us


Request for proposal



KPMG’s new-look website

KPMG’s new-look website