Hardening market and low interest rates the hot topics at Baden-Baden, survey shows

With the meetings that would have taken place in Baden-Baden this year now taking place online, the re/insurance industry is embracing digital technology in a way it never has before, according to an exclusive Intelligent Insurer survey for people who had planned to attend this year’s event.

The poll was conducted with people who will be meeting online this week, instead of in person in Germany, to discover the main talking points for these virtual meetings.

Although much has been said about the hardening market, respondents expressed concern that rates might not harden as much as is hoped, and the ongoing impact of COVID-19 was a key area of concern.

In times of considerable uncertainty—accompanied by hope that rate improvements will continue—a strong theme was the need to keep communicating, even while physically distanced.

Another major thread that emerged was the importance of the Baden-Baden meeting not just as a place to do business but also as a learning opportunity. Some 77 percent of respondents said that being involved in Baden—albeit virtually this year—is important to them as an opportunity to learn new things and gain an understanding of trends.

The other key reasons for involvement related to the significant connections that are forged at Baden-Baden: some 59 percent of respondents said Baden is an important opportunity to connect with new people and seek new clients, while 55 percent said that it was a good opportunity to negotiate with clients in relation to year-end renewals.

For 55 percent of respondents it was also important to reaffirm relationships with existing clients.

“The potential for volatile results was highlighted by 43 percent of respondents.”

Hot topics

As to the main talking points during Baden-Baden week this year, 77 percent of respondents highlighted the ongoing impact of the coronavirus as the top topic, followed by the ever-hardening market (68 percent).

For 50 percent of respondents, the related subject of the dynamic around rates and terms and conditions was important, while 45 percent highlighted the outcome of the COVID-19 business interruption test case as a hot topic.

For 36 percent of respondents, the availability of capacity was a key issue, while 27 percent said they expected to be talking about consolidation and mergers and acquisitions. The challenge of growth for the industry was highlighted by 23 percent of respondents, while 18 percent focused on accelerating digital advances and their effect on the industry.

Smaller topics highlighted were environmental, social and corporate governance factors plus investor pressure (5 percent) and regulatory changes (14 percent).

On their main challenges and concerns this renewals season, 52 percent of those surveyed highlighted low interest rates as an area of concern, and 48 percent expressed the worry that rates won’t harden as much as the industry would like.

Uncertainty and the potential for volatile results was highlighted by 43 percent of respondents, while 19 percent said they were concerned about consolidation and the changing landscape. Some 5 percent said business was good and they had no worries.

Main image: / Vladimir Mulder