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

Just as people have been seizing on positive economic data to call an upturn in the country’s fortunes, the insurance industry has been looking for signs that rates are beginning to harden.

Although catastrophe-exposed sectors have seen rates increasing, in other lines of business the picture has been different, with rates continuing to fall.

Recently there have been some positive signs that the market is starting to bottom out, however, and that average premiums are beginning to rise. But, as we discuss on page 2, there are reasons to be cautious: insurers still need to work hard to increase rates to the right level.

Meanwhile, the half-year results season is drawing to a close, and on page 3 we take a look at what the numbers reveal.

Remember contingent commissions? After the 2004 Spitzer enquiry in the US, these remuneration deals were abandoned by the world’s major brokers. But they could be about to make a return following an American legal ruling. Nathan Skinner looks at the implications of this development on page 4.

Finally, David Sandham has compiled his top-10 issues facing the reinsurance sector over the coming months.