Exclusive insight and analysis from Insurance Times, Strategic Risk and Global Reinsurance

The financial reporting season is under way and, not surprisingly, the financial turmoil and catastrophe losses have taken their toll on results. Investments returns have been hit hard by plummeting stock and bond markets. But as David Sandham argues on page 2, the insurance industry’s conservative investment strategy means it is in a stronger position than the banking sector.

Insurance Agenda also looks at the performance of Aviva’s UK general insurance business (page 3). As the analysis reveals, there are still challenges ahead for the senior management in terms of improving underlying profitability.

The price comparison sector is facing tough times too as the competition for customers becomes increasingly fierce. Advertising spend has increased dramatically over the past few years and this is affecting profits. Price comparison sites will need to adapt their business models if they are to survive (page 4).

Directors’ and officers’ insurers are starting to feel the fallout from the financial crisis, as investors who have lost money look for legal redress against company directors.

Nathan Skinner says insurers could face significant losses; something that could have a profound effect on the structure of the market (page 5).

Finally, with the growing insurance market in the Middle East, David Sandham examines how Qatar is attracting the attention of the elite (page 6).