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Press Release

Hard market softening for construction sector, but inflation pressures still loom over insurance industry

March 14, 2024


LONDON, March 14, 2024 — 2024 marks a period of greater optimism for the construction sector, as it moves away from the hard market cycle that’s been in effect for many years, with global infrastructure construction output set to grow at an annual average rate of 5.2% from 2024 to 2027. However inflation and interest rate uncertainty is still impacting the insurance industry as a whole, after another record year of catastrophic events in 2023. That’s according to the Q1 Construction Rate Tracker from WTW (NASDAQ:WTQ), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.

This year, activity and growth in the construction industry will be led by large scale government spending and supported by private investment in infrastructure, both aging and new, including roads, railways, airports, ports, and urban mobility projects. Also in the energy sector, predominantly in renewables, as populations continue to grow at a fast pace and because of the need for accessible and reliable energy supply and to comply with countries’ decarbonization plans.

Heavy investment in manufacturing is expected in the technology sector with many projects expected to commence construction works this year, including semiconductors, giga factories and datacenters across various regions, but notably in North America, Latin America and Europe.

Yet, construction activity is expected to retract in some countries within Europe and Australia, due to the increased construction costs for projects as a result of economic factors including high inflation, elevated interest rates and labour shortages.

While the prolonged period of inflation is easing, continued uncertainty will cause moderate rate increases across most regions.”

Maria Sanchis | Global Head of Construction Broking, WTW

Maria Sanchis, Global Head of Construction Broking, WTW, said “While the prolonged period of inflation is easing, continued uncertainty will cause moderate rate increases across most regions, which can partly be attributed to consecutive insured losses, amounting to $100 billion in 2023, which are becoming the norm rather than the exception. Yet, expectations of flat rates and slight discounts for “best in class” risks and clients are indicated in some key territories.

Equally, well adopted strict technical underwriting criteria, more predictable coverage and confident pricing adequacy will likely lead towards an improvement in combined ratios and a stable rate environment. However, rising claims costs will likely also impact markets’ profitability particularly in key cost factors such as healthcare, construction materials, workforce and litigation and some insurers may struggle to maintain rates and perhaps not raise pricing fast enough to cover record growth in expenses.”

About WTW

At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.

Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we uncover opportunities for sustainable success—and provide perspective that moves you.

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