Portuguese risk managers and their firms are increasingly concerned about the rising threat of protectionism as some of their most important international markets adopt measures to restrict free trade.
In worrying news for insurance buyers with operations in Spain, the country’s Insurance Compensation Consortium, Consorcio de Compensacion de Seguros, or Consorcio, is stamping down on the conditions under which it will pay claims.
Insurance companies in Spain operate today in a stagnated economy with little hope of growth in the foreseeable future. The dire state of Spain’s finances and suspicions about the country’s banking system have prompted justifiable ratings downgrades of Spanish insurers by agencies such as Fitch and Standard & Poor’s. So on what would the Spanish insurance industry focus as they gathered this week? Not a lot.
JLT Group reported a strong set of results for 2011 achieving organic revenue growth of 7.3%. However, its continental Europe business performed less well, with organic revenue falling 17% and the broker admitting it was unsatisfied with its Italian operations.
JLT has expanded its partner network in Spain by merging its existing Spanish retail broking business JLT-SIACI Espana S.L. with the business of March – Unipsa Correduria de Seguros, S.A.U. (Unipsa), the fourth largest commercial insurance broker in Spain and a subsidiary of Banca March.
Fitch Ratings said on Tuesday that Assicurazioni Generali and its core operating subsidiaries’ ratings are not affected by the downgrade of Italy’s long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to ‘A-‘ from ‘A+’, with a Negative Outlook.
Latin America is a much easier place in which to do business than in the past, but European companies are still likely to encounter challenges as they seek to transfer their risks to the local insurance market for some time yet.
Language may not be a big barrier for Spanish companies that are trying to make a splash in the fast growing Brazilian market. But the similarities between Spanish and Portuguese are of little help when it comes to compliance and the wording of insurance contracts in South America’s biggest country.
Spanish companies must be prepared to face more frequent litigation from their employees, risk managers were warned in Madrid during a morning-long seminar about trends for the next round of renewals organised by Iniciativa Gerentes de Riesgos Españoles Asociados, IGREA, one of Spain’s two risk management associations.
There is no hard market on the horizon for Spanish insurance buyers as the effects of sluggish economic growth in the country combined with an abundance of capital and strong competition in the insurance market should keep premium prices in check for most lines in 2012 with some buyers still achieving rate discounts, an audience of hundreds of risk managers were told in Madrid.