AXIS sponsoring its fourth cat bond, a $100m Northshore Re II 2019-1

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Bermuda-based specialty insurance and reinsurance company AXIS Capital Holdings Ltd. has returned to the capital markets to sponsor what will be its fourth catastrophe bond, with a $100 million Northshore Re II Ltd. (Series 2019-1) transaction.

axis-capital-logoAXIS Capital has become a significant user of third-party reinsurance capital, building relationships with so-called strategic capital partners and leveraging insurance-linked securities (ILS) capital both for its retrocession and to manage risks for and earn fee income in the process.

This transaction will be the fourth catastrophe bond sponsored by AXIS Capital that we have listed in our Deal Directory.

Using its Northshore Re II Ltd. special purpose insurance vehicle again, which it used for previous $350 million Northshore Re II Ltd. (Series 2017-1) and a $200 million Northshore Re II Ltd. (Series 2018-1) deals, AXIS is seeking a very similar type of coverage and an expansion to its retrocession and reinsurance program, we’re told.

Northshore Re II Ltd. will seek to issue a single tranche of Series 2019-1 notes that are currently sized at $100 million, with the notes set to be offered to cat bond investors and the proceeds from their sale used to collateralize a retrocessional reinsurance agreement with the company.

The coverage will benefit AXIS’ subsidiaries, including its Lloyd’s syndicate, insurance and reinsurance companies, so effectively provide broad coverage for AXIS’ property catastrophe exposure in peak zones.

The notes will provide AXIS with four years of collateralized reinsurance and retrocession protection against certain losses from U.S. named storms (including in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), U.S. & Canada earthquakes and European windstorm catastrophe events.

The protection will be on an annual aggregate basis, across the four annual risk periods, and the cat bond features industry loss triggers for each covered peril that will be weighted on a state, regional or localised basis from PCS for the U.S. risks and PERILS for EU windstorm risks.

The currently $100 million of notes, which we’d imagine stand a good chance of upsizing, will have an initial attachment probability of 3.3% and an initial expected loss of 2.84%, we understand.

The trigger features an index franchise deductible for each loss event, after which the qualifying losses will aggregate upwards across the year as index points towards an attachment level for the notes, where they would begin to see losses.

The notes are being offered to ILS investors with pricing guidance in a range from 7.75% to 8.25%, we understand, providing room for a reasonable multiple that is aligned with other recent transactions.

In fact the multiple looks much higher than AXIS’ 2018 Northshore Re II cat bond, which with an initial expected loss of 4.47% being riskier than this deal, priced at just 7.75%.

So this Northshore Re II 2019-1 catastrophe bond from AXIS Capital should offer investors a better return, in terms of multiple at least, for taking on its exposure than the previous transaction that was issued only one-year ago.

We understand this new Northshore Re II Ltd. (Series 2019-1) catastrophe bond transaction is expected to complete before the end of this month.

You can read all about this and every other catastrophe bond in the Artemis Deal Directory.

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