Retro to help SCOR manage any increase in typhoon Hagibis loss

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French reinsurance firm SCOR reported EUR 343 million of natural catastrophe losses in the fourth-quarter of 2019, after taking into account any recoveries from retrocessional reinsurance and before tax, with typhoon Hagibis the main driver.

typhoon-hagibis-satellite-japanIn announcing the results of its reinsurance renewals in January yesterday, SCOR said that typhoon Hagibis had cost the company an estimated EUR 227 million after retrocession and before tax, making it the largest catastrophe event of the quarter by a long way.

SCOR based this estimate on cedent information and an insured market loss estimate of just US $8 billion, which is a particularly low industry loss pick for Hagibis.

But SCOR noted that even should the industry loss from Hagibis rise above that, its retrocessional reinsurance program will be there to soak much of the financial impact up.

“Our efficient retro program would allow SCOR to materially dampen the increase in the loss, should Hagibis deviate beyond our current estimate of market loss assumption,” the company explained.

SCOR’s market loss estimate for typhoon Hagibis is the same as where Swiss Re pegged it, at $8 billion, while Munich Re said it expected the typhoon to drive a $10 billion industry loss.

It’s becoming increasingly clear thought that where losses are attributed, in terms of event, will really matter with Hagibis.

Coming so soon after typhoon Faxai and then being followed by an extreme rainfall and flooding event, it seems some companies are attributing losses a little differently, we’ve learned.

It’s possible SCOR is one of these and the reinsurance firm also said yesterday that the market loss estimate has already been revised upwards for Faxai, which could be as some challenges emerge over where losses actually began.

For the full-year 2019 SCOR has estimated its catastrophe losses at EUR 665 million after taking into account support from its retrocession and before tax.

Early estimates from risk modellers had suggested an industry loss range of up to $16 billion for Hagibis, while an estimate of $15 billion was released by reinsurance firm RenaissanceRe’s CEO delivered soon after the event.

The market is now more confident that industry losses from typhoon Hagibis will ultimately stabilise below the top-end of estimates.

It’s also noteworthy that some ILS funds adjusted their Hagibis loss expectation downwards recently.

But as we also explained recently, there is an emerging fear that Hagibis could see issues related to demand surge, similar to those seen with Hagibis. Local reports suggest this is already being seen to be the case.

That makes the eventual industry loss associated with the typhoon less certain, so in SCOR’s case it is positive the company has retro protection left to lean on should it need to.

SCOR had already made recoveries from its proportional retro program for both hurricane Dorian and typhoon Faxai in 2019, seemingly also doing so for Hagibis.

But it’s robust retro program still provides coverage for any increase in losses that come from the most recent Japanese storm, both proportional and excess-of-loss which remains untouched it seems, which will protect its results from a further dent if there are any surprises with Hagibis.

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