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Announcement:

Moody's: Stable global life and P&C insurance outlook for 2016; reinsurance outlook remains negative

09 Dec 2015

London, 09 December 2015 -- Whilst the global life and property and casualty (P&C) insurance industries both have stable outlooks for 2016, according to Moody's Investors Service, the outlook for the global reinsurance industry is negative, reflecting excess capacity and shrinking demand. In P&C insurance, although global growth will be modest, the rating agency expects still strong growth from emerging markets, despite economic headwinds. In life insurance, profitability will be supported by an intensifying shift in product mix, offset by continued low interest rates.

"Accelerated changes in product mix and higher fees on still rising asset prices will support profitability in life insurance, although we note that a delayed increase in interest rates and higher asset volatility will intensify risk", said Simon Harris, Moody's Managing Director. "For P&C, we expect that premiums will grow in line with economic growth in advanced economies, and faster in emerging economies based on rising penetration rates, even where economic growth is slowing", added Mr Harris.

Moody's outlooks titled "P&C Insurance -- Global", "Reinsurance -- Global" and "Life Insurance -- Global" are now available on www.moodys.com. Moody's subscribers can access this report via the links provided at the end of this press release.

Moody's expects that the global economy will continue to recover slowly, despite the slowdown in China, supporting life insurance sales. Low interest rates remain a key credit risk for many life insurance markets globally, and although Moody's expects that US and UK central banks will start gradually raising interest rates in the next few months, both the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan may expand their quantitative easing programmes and/or cut their main policy rates further into negative territory. Life insurers, however, continue to shift product mix away from spread-based business and benefit from higher fee-based income as a result of strong equity markets.

"For P&C insurers, a key sector strength remains the mandatory nature of major lines such as auto, home and commercial property", added Mr Harris. Moody's notes that P&C insurers generally maintain sound balance sheets with high-quality investments, adequate reserves and good capitalization, contributing to the stable outlook for the sector. However, Moody's sees key challenges for the P&C sector as being natural and man-made catastrophes, coupled with pricing/reserving for long-tail lines.

"An abundance of reinsurance capacity and decrease in demand from primary insurers has created sustained pressure on reinsurance pricing and erosion of terms and conditions", noted Mr Harris. According to Moody's, reserve releases and benign cat losses have obscured the full extent of deterioration in earnings. Although reinsurers are taking steps to reposition for the new reality, including M&A and innovation in new products and markets, this exposes them to execution risk which can in some cases be meaningful.

The insurance industry is undergoing considerable regulatory change, including Solvency II in Europe, C-ROSS in China and the G-SII framework for globally systemically important insurers, which Moody's generally sees as credit positive, albeit with limited implications for the next 12-18 months. The rating agency added that M&A in the insurance industry, which reached record levels in 2015, will likely continue, driven by the challenging economic environment and the need for scale, combined with regulatory change.

Subscribers can access the reports via these links :

http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_186495

http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_186518

http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_186510

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information, please call one of our global press information hotlines: London +44-20-7772-5456, New York +1-212-553-0376, Tokyo +813-5408-4110, Hong Kong +852-3758-1350, Sydney +61-2-9270-8141, Mexico City 001-888-779-5833, São Paulo 0800-891-2518, or Buenos Aires 0800-666-3506. You can also email us at mediarelations@moodys.com

This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

Simon Harris
MD-Gbl Ins and Mgd Invests
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Robert Riegel
MD - Insurance
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's: Stable global life and P&C insurance outlook for 2016; reinsurance outlook remains negative
No Related Data.
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