French reinsurance firm SCOR is back in the ILS market with a proposed $150m U.S. wind, U.S. and Canada earthquake catastrophe bond Atlas IX Capital Limited (Series 2015-1), as it seeks to expand its capital markets sourced retrocession coverage.
This is the second issuance of insurance-linked securities (ILS) through SCOR’s Ireland domiciled issuer Atlas IX Capital Limited. The first, and SCOR’s last cat bond, was the 2013 issued Atlas IX Capital Limited (Series 2013-1) mortality cat bond, which secured SCOR’s life reinsurance entity $180m of retro protection.
This 2015 deal sees Atlas IX Capital proposing to issue at least $150m of notes linked to SCOR Global P&C SE’s catastrophe exposures in the U.S. and Canada for named storm and earthquake protection.
As we understand it, Atlas IX Capital will issue a single tranche of Series 2015-1 Class A notes to source retrocessional reinsurance protection for the sponsor, SCOR Global P&C SE’s, U.S. named storm, U.S. earthquake and Canada earthquake risks.
The single tranche of notes will be exposed to these perils on an industry loss and aggregate basis across a four-year risk period up to the end of 2018. The trigger for each peril will be based on PCS reported county or province weighted industry losses, we’re told.
Named storm coverage is across 29 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the District of Colombia, while earthquake coverage is across the U.S., DC and Canada.
The notes have an index attachment point of 650 points, but with a deductible of 45 index points per event. The exhaustion point is at an index level of 850, sources said. We understand that equates to an initial attachment probability of 4.16%, exhaustion probability of 2.84% and expected loss of 3.43%.
In terms of pricing, the single tranche of notes are being marketed to investors with a guidance range of 7% to 7.75% we’re told. So that looks like a multiple of at least 2 times the expected loss even at the low-end of guidance.
The notes feature a variable reset facility, as so many cat bonds do nowadays, which could allow SCOR to increase the expected loss to provide more cover, but with investors compensated accordingly with a higher coupon.
Interestingly, the collateral from the sale of the notes to ILS investors will be invested in EBRD notes, a collateral type which has not been so popular in recent years. The fear of negative rates is of course rife in the Eurozone, but we understand the deal will set a minimum interest of zero so a negative collateral return would not be possible even if rates in Europe declined further.
The Atlas IX Capital 2015-1 catastrophe bond is being brought to market by Aon Benfield Securities which is acting as sole structuring agent and bookrunner. AIR Worldwide is the risk modelling firm responsible for the deal.
It’s encouraging to see SCOR returning to the capital markets with its first catastrophe bond in over a year. SCOR is a long-term sponsor of cat bonds, having ten cat bonds under its belt already, according to Artemis data.