In light of the devastation caused by hurricane Irma, Swiss Re Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Christian Mumenthaler, speaking at the 2017 meeting of the reinsurance industry in Monte-Carlo, called for the global reinsurance industry to step up and do what it’s here for.
During the PwC event in Monte-Carlo earlier this morning, Mumenthaler discussed the impact of hurricane Irma with a view to how the reinsurance industry must react to the event.
Irma continues to impact parts of the U.S. as a Category 1 storm, after making landfall in Florida as a strong hurricane that resulted in widespread damage and flooding, just days after tearing through parts of the Caribbean.
Discussing Irma, Mumenthaler said; “I think, what is very clear is that these events have always happened, and they will happen again, and they are basically a call on our industry to do what we are here for. This is basically the product we are selling. The whole delivery of the claims, to take care of the people, this is what we are here for.
“And the industry needs to step up to the occasion, and I feel very confident that it will step up to the occasion.”
The Swiss Re CEO continued to explain that the first thought of the industry should be how we can help the people suffering after Irma, underlining the need to pay claims quickly.
Widespread uncertainty surrounding the economic impact of hurricane Irma remains, and it will be some time before the industry learns its fate. Some estimates have moved away from the $70 billion to $100 billion range cited by some market participants, with the estimated insured loss now moving down to below the $50 billion threshold.
Whether the insured loss of hurricane Irma combined with the hurricane Harvey loss, which will also take some time to fully materialise, is enough to meaningfully impact pricing in the reinsurance sector, remains to be seen.