Personal reflections from a week of market insight

Presenting, listening, and talking to the market at last week’s Cargo Insurance London and Marine Insurance London events brought into sharp focus the unpredictability of the market we operate in.  This unpredictability is very much felt with the unfortunate incident in Baltimore which reinforces the critical importance of the Marine Insurance market. I’m commenting elsewhere on what happened in Baltimore so for now, I wanted to recap my key takeaways from last week. 


The geopolitical maelstrom  

The ongoing unrest in the Red Sea and Ukraine is continuing to cause stress and anxiety in the market with no signs of this easing anytime soon.  With that comes increasing complexities around writing war risks with some insurers removing themselves from this part of the market.  We’ve also seen the resurgence of Somali piracy – a stark reminder of the possible threats that are lurking beneath the surface.  These challenges demand our collective resolve and for me, they further reinforced the importance of adaptability and foresight to allow us to navigate through them. 


Will the market soften? 

There were certainly some whisperings of the market softening, met with anticipation and apprehension.  Recently, we’ve seen new MGAs coming into the market creating new capacity, but the question is, what will happen to rates?  Set against the background of the unpredictable and complex geopolitical landscape, it would be easy to assume that rates would harden because risks are potentially on the increase, but with all the extra capacity, will that be the case?  Only time will tell. 


Changing of the guard 

It was interesting to observe some of the demographic shifts within the attendees of both the cargo and hull markets and for me, it’s akin to watching the changing of the guard.  The industry’s future has huge potential but this hinges on our ability to capture, systemise and pass on the hard-earned knowledge and experience of seasoned underwriters to the eager hands of the next generation of underwriters.  It’s about more than just insurance – it’s about ensuring the legacy of knowledge and passion for the market continues to build a stronger future.   


The advent of technology 

The market is being hit by a wave of new technologies and data capabilities.  It challenges the very premise of the marine insurance market which has been built on the assumption that there are some things that you either don’t know or can’t know.  However, this is changing and as we shine a light on those previous unknowns, the very foundation of the market and the insurance products on offer will need to change.  We’re just at the beginning of that journey and whilst it is daunting, it offers an exciting future for the market. 

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