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

Christmas is coming and with it some much needed good news for the punch-drunk global financial services industry.

As the economic gloom deepens, certain businesses can start to look for opportunities. Among insurers, those with strong balance sheets such as RSA, Amlin and Hiscox can expect to benefit from the troubles of their rivals (page 2).

And the whole market will be rubbing its hands in glee at the growing consensus that reinsurance rates are about to harden, prompting a turn in the cycle at last (page 5).

Insurers will escape from the kind of harsh regulatory intervention that banks now face, reckons Michael Faulkner (page 3), and risk managers can step forward to take their place in the limelight (page 6).

Finally, whatever your political colours, there can be no doubt that Barack Obama’s historic victory is going to shake things up. David Sandham asks what it means for (re)insurance (page 4).

So take a tip from wartime Britain: batten down the hatches for the festive season, hope the worst of the economic storms have passed and look forward to making the best of things in the new year.