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

The insurance industry is waiting for the return of the hard market. While some lines of business, notably catastrophe exposed reinsurance business, are seeing hardening rates, other lines are still pretty soft.

One issue for the market that could hamper the sector’s return to hard market condition is a dislocation between renewal premiums and new business premiums. Some insurers have been willing to cut rates for new customers to win the business, while simultaneously trying to increase rates for existing customers. As we argue on page 2, this practice of dual pricing is potentially damaging to the industry and should be abandoned.

Insurers are also taking a close look at the value provided by their distribution channels as they seek to reduce their costs. The consolidators were the first to come under the spotlight, and now networks are in the insurers’ glare. On page 3, we examines how networks must respond.

The recession means insurance buyers are looking for swift claims settlement by their insurers in order to assist with cashflows. Nathan Skinner argues that insurers must seize the opportunity to distinguish themselves by show better claims handling and empathy with their clients (page 4).

Finally, now that European politicians have reached agreement on Solvency II,

the forthcoming risk-based solvency regime, insurers face years of hard work to comply with the rules – and the fine detail has yet to be published (page 5).