Another sell-out year for the IRLA
Congress in Brighton – an event which proved to be highly productive and thought-provoking.
A panel discussion on UK legacy and long tail claims examined what market practitioners viewed as the most troublesome and worrying trends now, and going forward. Abuse claims were seen as something to watch – particularly in the wake of the Northern Ireland inquiry which has suggested that the remit of ‘abuse’ should extend beyond the actual victim to include witnesses to abuse and even those who went through an establishment with any abuse cases.
The panel – Ian Harvey, PRO
, Chris Webb-Jenkins, Weightmans and Stephen Bellingham, RSA – agreed that the NI report may well have an impact on the long awaited Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) results and could change the abuse claims landscape. An audience participation question over what was expected to be the lasting effect of the IICSA report was overwhelmingly answered as: an increase in insurance claims volumes followed by a removal of limitations and then an increase in claims values.
Asbestos remained, as ever, on the list of problems going forward with discussion centred on the role of insurers in asbestos drug trials. An audience participation question as to whether the insurance market should support drug trials on asbestos related diseases received an overwhelming vote in favour, despite it being noted that such trials are controversial and can be dangerous.
But the greatest concern in the immediate term for the audience, responding to a participation question, was the impending UK election uncertainty and its impact on proposed reforms.
A comparison of US and European markets chaired by Carolyn Fahey of AIRROC
, with Eleni Iacovides, DARAG, Tom Taylor, AXA LM , Victor Nelligan, PwC and Dan Cordina, EY
, highlighted a number of stark differences. Drawing on recent surveys with market operatives, it was clear that while the US market was focused on adverse loss development and finality, for Europeans capital and Solvency II were far more important together with the impact of Brexit.
Commenting on the Brexit situation, Iacovides felt strongly that with companies having to make decisions without knowing exactly what will happen in two years’ time, ‘it is criminal that the UK government has not made a more proactive approach.’ However, according to market surveys, the number of European transactions are set to increase – possibly substantially – over the next 12 months.
As far as the US landscape was concerned, the panel agreed that although surveys had shown that there was great interest in the Rhode Island Regulation 68 initiative, with many believing it will result in a major rise in the number of run-off transactions, the market is still waiting for someone to be brave enough to test it. Taylor remarked that he personally found the US insurance system ‘confusing and irritating – hiding behind policyholder protection when they are really just protecting themselves.’Directory link: IRLA