Reinsurers and brokers had plenty to discuss in the German spa town of Baden-Baden last week. But for many that was all it was - just talk.

When the World Trade Centre (WTC) collapsed on 11 September, the foundations of renewal contracts laid out at the annual Monte Carlo Rendez-Vous quickly crumbled.

Last week's meetings in Germany represented a new chance to renegotiate rates and terms for reinsurance deals to be issued on 1 January 2002. Yet many attendees had little to bring to the discussion table.

Reinsurers were divided into two camps - those who knew roughly what they could cover and those who couldn't discuss terms until their company determined next year's capacity.

The impact of the events in New York dramatically altered Baden-Baden. There were notably fewer delegates, as many were reluctant to travel.

Those that did meet for coffee at the town's five-star hotels tended to speculate on which insurer would be the next to collapse or withdraw from certain lines of business.

Other issues on the agenda included the lack of terrorism cover available.

Treaty underwriter for Hiscox syndicate 33, Russell Merrett, said: "It would seem that everyone will look to exclude it in the US in both insurance and reinsurance where they can, even from personal lines business."

Brokers are now anticipating a frantic and late renewal season, as many reinsurers cannot commit to risks until a clearer picture of WTC losses has been drawn.

But one thing is clear - those that do trade forward should have an extremely profitable year.