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BestWeek: A.M. Best Analysts: Reaction to Model Changes, Cat Losses Could Slow Cat Bond Issues

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OLDWICK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New catastrophe bond issues in 2011 have been dampened by uncertainty around catastrophe model updates and the rash of disasters that have plagued the industry, an A.M. Best Co. analyst tells this week’s BestWeek U.S./Canada.

“If we keep getting these extreme weather events every few months, the amount of capacity in the market may shrink.”

However, with hurricane season winding down, Asha Attoh-Okine, A.M. Best managing senior financial analyst of insurance-linked securities, said there may be a few more cat bonds issued yet this year. As of November, about $3.34 billion in cat bonds had been issued or were pending to be closed this year, compared with $4.3 billion in 2010 and $3.4 billion in 2009, according to A.M. Best data.

One of the contributing factors for the slump was the uncertainty surrounding the impact of the RMS RiskLink Version 11.0 U.S. Hurricane Model, Attoh-Okine said.

Also featured is a Best’s Special Report excerpt on how prolonged low interest rates are taking a longer-term toll on life and annuity insurers.

BestWeek Europe takes a look at the serious floods that swept through Ireland in October and have brought fears of a potential capacity squeeze within the country's household insurance sector. “If we keep getting these extreme weather events every few months, the amount of capacity in the market may shrink,” said Michael Horan, manager of nonlife insurance for the Irish Insurance Federation.

Also in BestWeek U.S./Canada, with the 2012 open-enrollment season for Medicare in full swing, private Medicare Advantage plans have ramped up quality improvement as major reimbursement cuts from the federal government take effect next year as part of U.S. health care reform. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Washington, D.C. continue to debate $1.5 trillion in cuts to the federal budget, which, if enacted, could greatly impact the plans.

BestWeek is published by A.M. Best Co. for insurance professionals. To subscribe, visit www.ambest.com/sales/BestWeek.

Founded in 1899, A.M. Best Co. is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

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