While the hard market is not over, and areas of immediate concern certainly exist, there are signs of relief on the horizon. While rates increased across the board to close out 2021, price hikes were less severe than those observed earlier in the hard market cycle. These positive trends have continued to kick off 2022, as carriers’ risk appetite has increased for many lines and new competition has entered the market.
While these signs of stabilization are encouraging, there are still some extreme pricing increases currently being observed. Once considered a niche line of coverage, Cyber Liability continued its historic hardening through the end of 2021. Premiums rose 34%, according to the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers Q4 2021 Commercial Property/Casualty Market Index. This increase was the first of 30% or more that the Council has recorded since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
As we continue into 2022, Cyber will be critical to monitor. The Russian invasion of Ukraine raises even more alarm bells as Russian cyber gangs like Conti align themselves with the Kremlin. While there is not yet any increased cybercrime activity in the United States as a result of this activity, experts warn it could be coming soon.
Umbrella and Excess Liability lines continued to be in distress to close 2021 and in the early stages of 2022. The line saw an average increase of 15% in Q4 2021, according to the CIAB’s Q4 2021 Commercial Property/Casualty Market Index. Demand is up while underwriting capacity continues to decline. Insurers believe capacity deployed within the first $100 million to be the working layer.
High hazard risk profiles or those with stressed loss profiles may continue to see rates in excess of 25%. However, there are some promising trends as well. The increased capacity seen in the marketplace may lead to single-digit or even flatlined renewals for insureds with exceptional risk management and safety programs.
Commercial Property lines continue to experience tempering market conditions driven by encouraging new market entrants. After four long years of re-underwriting portfolios, insurers’ appetites to write risks appear to be stabilizing. Carriers are increasing capacity and generating competition for favorable risk profiles.
Property rates continued to increase to close out 2021, but at a decelerating pace of 10.5% according to the CIAB Q4 2021 Commercial Property/Casualty Market Index. Last year was a costly one for insurers, with a number of catastrophic weather events throughout 2021.
Thus far in 2022, terms and conditions remain relatively stable, but profitability and underwriting discipline will continue to be a key focus for insurers. Communicable disease and cyber exclusions are now becoming a standard.
Directors and Officers
The overall economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact Directors and Officers (D&O) lines pricing and capacity for the foreseeable future. As we dive deeper into 2022, the Biden administration’s expected increase in regulatory oversight and funding will undoubtedly impact D&O lines.
Cyber Liability lines experienced a tumultuous 2021 as rate increases soared to record highs, finishing with a crescendo to close out the year. The CIAB Q4 2021 Commercial Property/Casualty Market Index report recorded a 34.3% increase for Cyber in Q4 2021, the first increase of over 30% since the 9/11 terrorist attacks two decades ago. These record increases are directly tied to record cybercrime rates, resulting in a 68% increase in victim losses from 2020 to 2021 according to the FBI’s 2021 IC3 report.
While these numbers are staggering, they could get even worse. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has the potential to create even more market volatility as Russian cyber gangs like Conti have sided with the Russian government.
As we look to the future, the flatlined increases observed in Q4 2021 will be important to watch. While steadying trends is an excellent first step, there’s still a long road ahead before we reach the light at the end of the tunnel of the current hard market cycle.
For specific lines of coverage, Cyber Liability trends will undoubtedly be under the microscope as Cyber now firmly sits atop the list of lines in distress. With the threat of Russian-led cyberattacks looming, the extreme pricing increases we are observing could worsen before they get better.
As always, the Unison Risk Advisors team is here to help you navigate this difficult market. Our dedicated teams are available to help answer your questions and prepare for difficult renewal cycles. While conditions are still challenging and underwriters are extremely stringent, we have the tools and the expertise to ensure the best possible outcome for your business.
Please complete the form linked here to receive a copy of the Spring 2022 market report. This comprehensive report features a more in-depth analysis of each line we are continuing to monitor.