Ratings turnaround highlights growing confidence in U.S. insurance sector, according to Aon Benfield Evolving Criteria study

Oct 21, 2013, 12:28 ET from Aon Benfield

BOSTON, Oct. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Aon Benfield, the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), today launches its annual Evolving Criteria report, which reviews the latest developments in rating agency protocol in the United States and their impact on the insurance industry.

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During a 12-month review period, the report reveals that ratings agencies S&P and A.M. Best released 23 criteria updates with an additional seven updates in draft status. Significant developments included the release of S&P's Insurance Rating Criteria and updates to A.M. Best's BCAR model.

Further notable events included S&P's amendments to its ERM, Management & Governance, and Hybrid Securities evaluation, as well as A.M. Best's analysis of the expiration of TRIPRA – the U.S. federal terrorism backstop – its treatment of Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (FHCF) cover, and its plans to develop a stochastic BCAR model.

The Evolving Criteria study highlights an increase in ratings upgrades across the U.S. P&C insurance sector, outpacing downgrades and reflecting improved market conditions of near record capitalization and favourable levels of profitability.

P&C insurers' aggregate combined ratios improved during the 12-month period decreased from 102 percent to 98 percent.

Patrick Matthews, head of Aon Benfield Rating Agency Americas, said: "Today is an unprecedented time for the U.S. P&C industry, where success can be attained by generating profit in the face of a slowly improving economy, low interest rates, and frequent catastrophic events. It is important that insurers can effectively manage risk at all levels of their enterprises in the face of an increasingly complex risk landscape. Meanwhile, understanding and managing rating agencies' evolving criteria has, and will continue to be an integral component of their success."

The Evolving Criteria report reveals that key insurer concerns include the expiration of TRIPRA in December 2014, and the NAIC ORSA requirement – both an area of focus for ratings agencies.

It highlights the growing importance of enterprise risk management (ERM) for insurers, as rating agencies assess risk management processes across firms' entire organizations rather than in silos.

Mr Matthews added: "Enterprise Risk Management has evolved to become an increasingly complex, yet essential feature in the operation and management of a successful insurance company. The growing sophistication of ERM within the industry has raised the bar for companies to build a risk framework that fits their internal culture and demonstrates that they are constantly managing and mitigating risk effectively throughout the organization."

To view the full Evolving Criteria U.S. report, please click on the link below:


To view the Evolving Criteria Asia Pacific report, please click on the link below:


To view the Evolving Criteria EMEA report, please click on the link below:


About Aon Benfield Aon Benfield, a division of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), is the world's leading reinsurance intermediary and full-service capital advisor. We empower our clients to better understand, manage and transfer risk through innovative solutions and personalized access to all forms of global reinsurance capital across treaty, facultative and capital markets. As a trusted advocate, we deliver local reach to the world's markets, an unparalleled investment in innovative analytics, including catastrophe management, actuarial and rating agency advisory. Through our professionals' expertise and experience, we advise clients in making optimal capital choices that will empower results and improve operational effectiveness for their business. With more than 80 offices in 50 countries, our worldwide client base has access to the broadest portfolio of integrated capital solutions and services. To learn how Aon Benfield helps empower results, please visit aonbenfield.com.

About Aon Aon plc (NYSE: AON) is the leading global provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Through its more than 65,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative and effective risk and people solutions and through industry-leading global resources and technical expertise. Aon has been named repeatedly as the world's best broker, best insurance intermediary, reinsurance intermediary, captives manager and best employee benefits consulting firm by multiple industry sources. Visit www.aon.com for more information on Aon and www.aon.com/manchesterunited to learn about Aon's global partnership and shirt sponsorship with Manchester United.

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