For perhaps five or six years now the insurance market in Switzerland has been soft.
For the past two or three years, we have expected to see the kind of hardening that has taken place abroad in countries such as the UK, but so far this hasn’t happened.
Although I wouldn’t say premiums are cheap, we have been getting reasonable prices for large corporate clients so far in 2013. We are seeing more and more providers move to Switzerland from abroad. Bermudan providers in particular seem to have decided that Switzerland is a good place in which to invest. They bring more capacity. This has the effect of further driving down premiums.
Broadly speaking, looking at employee benefits and pensions cover, the market is about 90% local providers, whereas with marine, property and casualty cover, the market is more like 50% local, 50% international.
When it comes to innovation, there is a split between the smaller medium sized businesses and the large multinationals with a turnover above $1bn.
Growing interest in captives
With the smaller clients, they are not asking for innovation, they just want the job done and their insurance needs covered. Having said that, they are willing to buy products.
With the larger companies, they are definitely getting more demanding and asking for more consultancy from their brokers and insurance.
The result of this is that the market is getting spread between the brokers who can deliver what the multinationals want, and those who cannot. Those who cannot are getting squeezed out.
One interesting change is that we are seeing an increasing interest in captives. More and more our large, multinational clients are asking for information about captives cover.
Cyber is another growth area, and there is a lot of consultancy on this. Patent infringement cover is also something of real interest to the boards of large companies.
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