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Survey Report

Insurance Marketplace Realities Spring Update 2024

May 8, 2024

Rate predictions, forecasts and market insights for 30+ lines of insurance across North America.

We’ve seen a lot of markets over the years, and the industry has never struggled to come up with creative ways to describe them. We’ve had “hard” markets, be they 2023’s property market or 2020’s across-the-board version. Looking back at 2015 to 2018, conventional wisdom would characterize that era as a “soft” market. 2008 and the financial crisis brought us the “unsettled” market. We’ve even nodded sagely at the notion of “dichotomous” markets, which to me sounds like every market that has ever existed.

This is all fun and games. But here is a simpler – dare I say happier – question to wrestle with: what does a good market look like? Because if there’s ever been a time when that welcome description might apply, it’s right now.

Consider the following. Many insurance companies are reporting record net income and material growth of gross written premiums. Industry titans are bullish on the state of the market. And, if they’re not descending gracefully from 2023’s exceptional highs, business lines are generally stable. Think about that; if stability and soft(er) conditions are as bad as it gets, sans highly distressed lines of business (such as terrorism), I would suggest that means things are actually pretty good. Or, as Evan Greenburg put it, “The P&C underwriting environment in North America overall is quite favorable, financial lines aside, with pricing exceeding loss costs, which remained steady.”[1]

Perhaps this serene optimism has been hard won. There’s no doubt that risk professionals, battle-hardened by the events of 2020 to 2023, have learned to be more sanguine these days. In 2016, a mid-single-digit rate increase would have felt like a catastrophe. Now, that is simply described as an “inflation factor.” Context and perspective are everything. This is worth bearing in mind when we consider our clients are trading largely in a buyer’s market where capacity remains prevalent – sans excess casualty in distressed risk classes (e.g., auto and terrorism) – and they can start pushing to improve programs in every way, from structure and pricing to policy terms. This is a time where WTW is successfully pushing the market to be creative with capital and to develop solutions that solve the most challenging risk problems of the day.

Pessimism is forever in fashion and, as always, there’s plenty to go round. Political unrest is rife. War is raging in two major global regions. Social inflation continues to push runaway liability claims. And we all know what high surface temperatures in the Gulf are harbingers of. The challenges and hazards we face are significant, wide-ranging and very real. For once, however, I would like to leave you with a different take-home. Collectively, we have a trillion-dollar-plus surplus in the bank, investment yields are trending upwards from 3.7% and insurers are generating meaningful improvements to net income. That means our industry is exceptionally well positioned to bring some much-needed stability to the wider world. You might want to whisper it, but it’s still the truth: this is a good market, and we should all be celebrating it.

For more insight on how you can prepare for a challenging marketplace, contact your local WTW representative.


  1. Chubb Records 13.3% Uptick in Q1 Net Income on Underwriting. Return to article

Major product lines

  1. Property

    Record insurer profitability in 2023 and favorable 2024 treaty renewals have contributed to noticeable stabilization in the property marketplace during Q1 2024.

  2. Domestic casualty

    Loss trends continue to outpace rate in most casualty product lines, leading to combined ratio pressure.

  3. International casualty

    The international liability marketplace remains stable thanks to a depth of competitive carriers that invest in tools and talent which help insureds deliver solutions in a complex landscape.

  4. Middle market

    While the property landscape has continued to trend favorably, carriers have refocused their attention to deteriorating results across their casualty books.

  5. Canada casualty

    Canadian casualty insurance buyers can cautiously expect to remain in a consumer-friendly marketplace amid the lengthening of a moderated marketplace.

  6. Canada property

    2024 has seen the return to stable reinsurance treaty renewals at both January 1 and April 1.

  7. Bermuda

    The Bermuda casualty insurance market remains a dynamic and evolving landscape. For property, the 2024 outlook indicates a nuanced landscape of rate predictions, capacity shifts and underwriting discipline.

Professional liability lines

  1. Cyber risk

    While market stabilization has continued into 2024, conditions could transition to a firming market later in the year.

  2. Directors and officers liability

    Availability of abundant capacity continues to drive competitive market dynamics, but where insureds had experienced material premium relief in previous renewal cycles, the extent of decreases may begin to taper off.

  3. Employment practices liability

    Competition keeps the EPL market stable, but with a rise in claims and employee-friendly regulations, significant loss history can elicit rate increases on the higher end.

  4. Errors and omissions

    Although the primary market is beginning to trend softer, with little new competition, several recent large claims have kept an upward pressure on rates.

  5. Fidelity/crime

    Pricing remains stable and competitive, which is largely attributable to the profitability of this product line.

  6. Fiduciary

    Despite conflicting positive and negative risk developments and some carriers remaining wary, a few carriers with increased appetites are leading to improved market conditions.

  7. Financial institutions - FINEX

    Capacity in the marketplace remains plentiful as it continues to drive competition across all lines of business for financial institutions (FIs).

Speciality lines and solutions

  1. Aviation & space

    The aviation market remains strong and advantageous for buyers as insurers compete for premium share due to the abundance of capital deployed in the segment.

  2. Alternative risk transfer (ART)

    Alternative risk transfer options continue to be in high demand, especially for clients with challenging risk profiles and/or poor loss experience.

  3. Architects and engineers

    Adverse severity claim trends reported by most professional liability (PL) carriers continue. Social inflation is being cited as a primary driver.

  4. Captive insurance

    As rate increases have moderated and indeed, in some cases, reductions are the norm, captive activity nevertheless remains strong.

  5. Construction

    The market corrections of the past few years have contributed to improved insurer-combined loss ratios and a more stabilized rate environment.

  6. Energy

    Sector profitability in 2023 paired with stable treaty reinsurance backing has yielded a more predictable market environment.

  7. Environmental

    Differentiating environmental exposures by industry has allowed clients and markets to have deeper and to the point conversations about specific exposures, trends, risk appetites and the true value of their coverage.

  8. Healthcare professional liability

    Underwriters remain concerned about aberrational/nuclear verdicts.

  9. Life sciences

    Product and professional liability rate predictions remain in the mid-single digits.

  10. Managed care E&O and D&O

    E&O and D&O pricing conditions for managed care organizations (MCOs) have softened, and anticipated additional primary capacity could cause additional rate reductions.

  11. Marine cargo

    Generally, the marine cargo market remains stable and, for accounts with a favorable loss ratio, continue to see close to flat rate renewals.

  12. Marine hull and liability

    The marine market has slightly softened but generally requires low single-digit increases due to claim inflation.

  13. Personal lines

    We continue to predict a pervasive hard market in personal lines across all lines of business with rate increases persisting in 2024.

  14. Political risk

    The ongoing crisis in the Middle East underscores that geopolitical flashpoints are becoming not only more common but also more pronounced in their intensity.

  15. Product recall

    We expect that, going into the 2024 and 2025 renewal cycles, the market will be looking to increase rate on more difficult risks that do not have longstanding relationships with their incumbent carriers.

  16. Senior living and long-term care

    Continuing frequency of severity, coupled with overall inflationary pressures on many fronts, is driving rate increases for property, general and professional liability and auto coverages.

  17. Special contingency risks: Kidnap and ransom

    The special risks insurance markets have almost uniformly either restricted or excluded coverage for exposures in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

  18. Surety

    The U.S. surety industry has begun to experience a modest increase in loss activity. Claim activity is picking up in the commercial surety market; however, losses appear to be remaining low.

  19. Terrorism and political violence

    Insurers are cautious of 2024, given this is the year of elections and the heightened possibility of a wider conflict in the Middle East.

  20. Trade credit

    Economists continue to predict an economic slowdown for North America; however, the U.S. has shown much resilience in staving off any material decline.


Willis Towers Watson hopes you found the general information provided in this publication informative and helpful. The information contained herein is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal advisors. In the event you would like more information regarding your insurance coverage, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. In North America, Willis Towers Watson offers insurance products through licensed entities, including Willis Towers Watson Northeast, Inc. (in the United States) and Willis Canada Inc. (in Canada).

Each applicable policy of insurance must be reviewed to determine the extent, if any, of coverage for losses relating to the Ukraine crisis. Coverage may vary depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances. For global client programs it is critical to consider all local operations and how policies may or may not include coverage relating to the Ukraine crisis. The information contained herein is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal and/or other professional advisors. Some of the information in this publication may be compiled by third-party sources we consider reliable; however, we do not guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of such information. We assume no duty in contract, tort or otherwise in connection with this publication and expressly disclaim, to the fullest extent permitted by law, any liability in connection with this publication. Willis Towers Watson offers insurance-related services through its appropriately licensed entities in each jurisdiction in which it operates. The Ukraine crisis is a rapidly evolving situation and changes are occurring frequently. Willis Towers Watson does not undertake to update the information included herein after the date of publication. Accordingly, readers should be aware that certain content may have changed since the date of this publication. Please reach out to the author or your Willis Towers Watson contact for more information.

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Insurance Marketplace Realities Spring Update 2024 PDF 13.1 MB

Senior Editor, Insurance Marketplace Realities
Head of Broking, North America

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