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Global Marketplace Insights – CEEMEA Q1 2024

Market Insights

April 16, 2024

Thomas Haddrill, Head of Broking CEEMEA, discusses the impact of the more recent natural catastrophes, economic and political pressures.
CEEMEA insurance marketplace update

Hear from our experts and learn more about the latest insurance marketplace trends


Global Marketplace Insights – CEEMEA Q1 2024

Hello, I'm Tom Haddrill and I'm the Head of Broking for Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. 2024 is flying by and I'm delighted to be able to bring you another market update for our region.

The CEEMEA region covers a very wide geography and the WTW network is extensive.

The insight we've worked to pull together in this update comes from right across the region, with colleagues contributing from the full A-Z of Abidjan to Zagreb and plenty of places in the alphabet in between, including Cairo, Johannesburg, Dubai, Dakar, Lagos, Istanbul, Budapest, Belgrave, Tel Aviv and Kiev.

I'll take my comments this quarter by area of coverage, and I'll try to speak to the whole region.

I'll identify the common threads and call out any specifics as necessary.

In financial lines, D&O, financial institutions and cyber, etc, we have seen significant expansion in coverage and reductions in pricing.

Terms are still not where they were five years ago and underwriters are exercising caution.

But this improvement in conditions for clients is in line with trends in other geographies.

Insurers framed this sharp increase in pricing and the contraction in capacity over the last few years as a correction in the market.

We can therefore see the recent reduction as a correction to the correction and carriers are indicating that they now see pricing and terms as no better than adequate.

As such, there is potential for some upward pressure on pricing and we would not expect major loosening of terms in CEEMEA.

Buyers would do well to engage with their WTW broker to examine where they sit in the market today and potentially lock in any favourable terms at this point.

In property, we've seen a market heavily impacted by Nat cats in 2023 with earthquakes in Turkey and floods in the Mediterranean and also in South Africa.

The protection gap, which is the difference between economic losses and the amount recovered from insurance carriers, is the highest in the world in CEEMEA.

And when we look at recent years, this gap is particularly acute when you look at losses stemming from natural catastrophes, which has made all the more troubling by the often heavy loss of life from these events in our region.

Clearly, resilience is an issue.

This is not helped by an uncertain pricing environment for property insurance, especially for Nat cat perils.

Truly common trends across the whole geography are rare, but we can say that programs with low cat exposure and also sufficient data are seeing softening of the market, while challenged sectors and cat exposed regions are going to see further increases or tightening terms in 2024.

The more orderly 1st of January 2024 reinsurance renewals has supported our clients in getting onto the front foot with the market.

But we need to ensure that we're working transparently with buyers to engage with carriers who will be looking to maintain discipline throughout this year.

Buyers need to be across their data, willing to engage with underwriters and have a consistent narrative around ESG concerns to be successful.

Some of the largest markets in the region face quite specific challenges and I'd put them into two buckets.

First, we have South Africa and Turkey.

Both have been affected by significant cat activity, inflation, currency fluctuation and market turmoil.

Our clients are having success where they are able to partner with us to ensure that underwriting information is available early.

Valuations need to be up to date and an active approach to risk control needs to be in place. Professional support on mitigation or understanding Nat Cat exposure needs to be on the table to ensure a good outcome with carriers and our teams in both Johannesburg and in Istanbul have decades of accumulated experience in both of these areas.

2023 was also a year of great geopolitical instability in CEEMEA.

Ukraine continued to affect market sentiment in Eastern Europe.

Moreover, the horrifying events of October the 7th and the fighting that has followed in Israel and Gaza has triggered a reduction in capacity for the Israeli market.

While this conflict continues to threaten to spill into the wider region, we have not seen markets returning to their former bullish stance on the Israeli market.

We think that not offering non war capacity in both of these countries is a misstep by insurers and we've had success on behalf of clients in both Ukraine and Israel.

When we can demonstrate the two true situation on the ground, we call on buyers and insurers to come to the table with us and find some solutions to improve economic protection in both of these countries.

To finish on a more upbeat note, we're lucky in CEEMEA to have a booming portfolio of business to bring to market and rapidly expanding partnerships with clients.

This provides our clients with a solid foundation from which to build towards lasting partnerships with carriers.

We advocate for early collaboration to unlock the complete range of broking services, including tapping into international resources, a strength WTW is primed to offer.

Together with our clients, we're crafting tailored strategies to navigate risks, leveraging our robust capabilities in risk and analytics, and collaborating with top notch industry professionals.

Let's embark on this journey of growth and resilience together.


Thomas Haddrill
Head of Broking CEEMEA

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