Willis Construction Risks Global Construction Market Overview June 2005

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1 2841 Willis Construction Risks COVER.qxd 07/06/ :04 Page 1 Willis Construction Risks Global Construction Market Overview June 2005

2 Willis Group Holdings Limited is a leading global insurance broker, developing and delivering professional insurance, reinsurance, risk management, financial and human resource consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public entities and institutions around the world. With over 300 offices in more than 74 countries, its global team of 14,500 associates serves clients in some 180 countries. Willis is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the code WSH. Additional information on Willis may be found on its web site:

3 Contents Foreword 2 Introduction 4 Market Overview 5 London and European Market Overview 7 Willis Global Overview 15 Asia Pacific 15 Australia 18 Latin America 20 Middle East 21 United States of America 22 Bermuda 27 Marketing Strategy 28 Associated Product Reviews 29 Professional Indemnity (PI) 29 Political Risks 30 Inherent Defects Insurance 31 Marine Cargo 31 Market Security 33 Summary and Prognosis 34 Willis Group Contributors 36 Willis Construction Market Review June

4 Foreword The global construction insurance market continues to respond to high levels of demand and increasingly challenging transactions. These are being generated by high levels of activity in the construction industry in many sectors and in varied geographical locations. The construction cost and project managers, Davis Langdon & Seah International, highlight the size of the opportunity: "Global construction spending reached nearly USD 4 trillion in 2003 and is expected to grow by 4.6% annually between 2004 and 2007." 1 Furthermore, according to the World Bank, "Between 1990 and 2002 more than 130 developing countries introduced private participation in at least one infrastructure sector awarding almost 2,500 projects attracting investment commitments of USD 750 billion." 2 So what are the challenges? The sheer size of some of the projects in the context of world Probable Maximum Loss (PML) construction insurance capacity; The contractual complexity of many projects which were in the public sector and are now structured under PFI/PPP arrangements; The rigorous requirements of the structured financing arrangements which are fuelling so many large projects and the requirements of the debt investors; The ever-more litigious world in which we are now operating; The changing climatic conditions causing more naturally occurring disasters; The changing world of Corporate Governance; The technological advances in design which are producing "scale ups" and new processes. How is the market responding to these challenges? Projects are being placed; Capacity is available and being committed; Policy coverage is being adapted to meet not only the demands of the owners or contractors, but also the requirements of the lending institutions. Evolution of the Market Before looking forward and predicting where the market is going, we need to take a retrospective look at the non-marine construction market over the last couple of decades. 1 Davis Langdon & Seah International World Construction Review/Outlook 2003/4 2 World Bank 2004 World Development Indicators 2 Willis Construction Market Review June 2005

5 Foreword continued Having evolved from the non-marine property markets, it is no surprise that the construction market is still heavily influenced by its antecedents. The evolutionary development has, however, been quite remarkable. The construction market is successfully providing:- long term capacity (five to six years is not unknown); a combination of Physical Damage, Third Party Liability and Business Interruption; coverage for a multitude of parties engaged with a project, including owner, contractor, subcontractors, lenders and engineers/consultants; full value physical damage cover (in the majority of cases); strong insurer security ratings, which are more critical on long-term construction placements; flexibility on coverage to suit the needs of the insured, including design and maintenance cover. This is in spite of poor underwriting returns in the 1980s and 1990s (with the odd positive year)! So why do those markets hang in there? It is certainly not in the expectation of getting rich! However, the experience has improved, particularly since Q In our last survey in June 2004, we identified the net loss of construction market capacity. Long term "A"-rated insurance capacity is a rare commodity. The appetite for construction business is still strong. But we live in a reactive and hugely volatile market. Many insurers are committing capacity to a single risk that far exceeds their annual premium income for the class! It requires a high level of reserving to protect "long-tail" business. Willis is continually looking to forge stronger links between the buyer and the seller of this capacity. That ultimately is how the business will endure. It is time that the true value of construction cover is appreciated. It is still considered, like many other classes of insurance, as an expense. In many cases the insurance cover is a condition precedent to project financing, yet is not regarded for what it truly is: contingent equity. We have clients who have experienced truly destructive losses. To them the value of their insurance programme and their relationship with their construction insurers is paramount and beyond pure cost. The value should be considered in the context of all of the ingredient parts: coverage, security, claims service, value enhancements and the premium, which should be regarded as an investment or hedge against future events. The construction insurance market will remain alert and responsive to these needs in the next few years. David G Turner, Chief Executive Officer Willis Construction Risks, London Willis Construction Market Review June

6 Introduction The insurance market moves, at times, with a degree of unpredictability. Ensuring that clients are periodically updated on the status of the insurance market is just one of the key tasks in which Willis takes a great deal of pride. Within this Construction Market Review, we aim to provide our clients with a complete overview of the construction market for both UK and international business, including commentary from various global market centres. This outlines our in-depth awareness of the construction market globally. We have also expanded our review this year to provide you with commentary from other Willis business units on market conditions affecting insurance coverages with a close affinity to the construction industry. 4 Willis Construction Market Review June 2005

7 Market Overview The market continues to service the needs of its client base on a global scale, from the most basic construction activity to some of the world's most extravagant project developments and risk transfer needs. The market remains open to business solutions for its client base, regardless of how diverse a client's risk transfer needs are. From a variety of industry professions covering a multitude of annual and/or single project business on a global scale, our market continues to know and understand its business and its customers' needs. Losses Past problems associated with "attritional" losses have been addressed through a more stringent approach to self-insured retentions/deductibles. Fortunately, the frequency of severe, catastrophic losses in the non-marine construction market has been very low. Historically, the adverse impact on loss experience has been caused by the frequency and repetition of less severe losses. Premium levels charged have not been sufficient to offset against both attrition and catastrophe with the consequence that, where there is a combination of the two, the loss experience has rocketed. Challenges to the Non-Marine Construction Market The long-tail nature of the construction market has ensured greater discipline and a longer period to assess underwriting performance. However, the non-marine construction sector will continue to face challenges: The ratings imposed by the various security agencies will continue to be at the forefront of the minds of potential purchasers. There will be a "premium" on top security; Insurers are racing to keep abreast of the enhancements in technology and the changing risk profiles that these cause. This is most apparent in the energy sector, where the drive for greater efficiency will continue to stretch the design parameters. It is also a factor in highrise buildings, power generation and many other industry sectors; Insurers have seen natural catastrophe losses in areas never previously considered as being exposed - the recent tsunami, for example - as well as those located in areas associated with naturally-occurring catastrophes - hurricanes in Florida and the Caribbean or earthquakes in Japan and California. Willis Construction Market Review June

8 Market Overview continued Insurance "cycles" move quite often at unbelievable speed, especially those classes of coverage underwritten on an annual basis. However, the construction sector has shown that, whilst historically it follows market trends, it has been far more consistent in recent years. 6 Willis Construction Market Review June 2005

9 London and European Market Overview London and European Markets The London and European markets remain the world's most significant providers of risk capacity to the construction industry. In the context of market cycles, we are currently in a "softening" cycle. This is due to the favourable experience over the last three years, supported by improved terms and conditions. New capacity has entered the market, although we do not see this as having a significant impact on this trend. The rate of "softening" is not, however, as dramatic as in other associated classes, such as property or energy. Those markets have much shorter cycles and generally have a considerable surplus of supply over demand. In recent years the construction market's capacity has never really matured to its fullest potential and, while it has had every opportunity to do so, its primary characteristic has been capacity withdrawal, with an estimated loss in the region of USD 175 million during the last four years. When compared to its larger counterparts, for example the property market, this seems insignificant but, when the worldwide global construction capacity is no greater than USD 1 billion based upon Maximum Probable Loss (MPL), it does represent a sizeable proportion. We are continuing to see fresh new capacity coming into the construction market and the arrival of the Illium Syndicate (Lloyd's) and Mitsui Sumitomo last year has provided some renewed risk appetite. There are several recent changes of note in the London market which should provide alternative opportunities when seeking new solutions for our clients: Beazley Syndicate at Lloyd's has brought in a team of four construction underwriters from GE Frankona which has an impressive reputation for leading many annual programmes and single project placements on a worldwide account; GE Frankona has rebuilt its team and continues to maintain a high profile as a serious leader in the construction sector; New capacity has emerged from the Catlin Syndicate at Lloyd's, who will focus their attention on small to medium-sized UK/ European contractors; Tokio Marine and Fire have transferred their international construction team from Tokyo to London. It is likely that market security ratings will again come under scrutiny following some of the industry sector's losses. Thus far the impact has been minimal, with only the regrettable loss of Converium in Switzerland, now rated by Standard & Poor's as BBB+ and, therefore, falling below most brokers' security committee acceptance levels. Willis Construction Market Review June

10 London and European Market Overview continued The London/European construction markets were directly impacted by quite significant volume losses following Hurricane Ivan. The tragic events following the tsunami in the Indian Ocean are also certain to affect insurance markets, although the extent of claims against the construction insurance market seems relatively minor at the time of going to print. Insurers are, however, more likely to focus their close attention on the aggregation of capacity in catastrophe zones and those zones will undoubtedly be redefined in the coming months. Insurers continue to focus very heavily on a client's approach to risk management and loss prevention and it remains fundamentally important for us to guide our clients on the market's expectations concerning identification of hazard, risk assessment/ control and how this is implemented and monitored throughout the term of the policy. The market is starting to consider once again packaged-style programmes incorporating marine cargo and the first year of operation. While the market has some way to go to develop this to its fullest potential, as was seen in the late 1990s, it is clearly evident that construction insurers are recognising that the project market is worthy of consideration. We would suggest this option is investigated on a case-by-case basis, as monetary savings on premiums are achievable when a variety of insurance classes are grouped together. Heavy civil engineering risks (dams, tunnels, etc.) will continue to receive the closest scrutiny. Reinsurance treaty capacity, as well as terms and conditions for such risks, will continue to be carefully managed by those few markets still willing to consider them. Major loss incidents persist in "civils" projects, with one example being the recent collapse of a section of tunnel on the Linea 5 in Barcelona and, while the quantum of the loss is still unknown, extensive damage is apparent, especially to third parties. "Full guarantee" maintenance has historically been a coverage extension available in the construction market, with appropriate deductible and premium considerations. It has been under close scrutiny recently, especially on project business where several significant capacity providers are now extremely reluctant to offer this level of coverage. Certain markets consider that the Principal Insureds should mitigate their potential exposures with the use of warranties and guarantees from the key suppliers and vendors and that their risk of failing to provide a product fit for its intended purpose should remain theirs, and theirs alone. Insurers focus on understanding the manufacturers' guarantees in place on all key items of plant and equipment and on having a knowledge of those circumstances in which the suppliers'/vendors' guarantees would not be enforceable. Without question the financial cost of purchasing guarantee maintenance can be significant, however, the principal concern should be whether or not full risk transfer to the commercial insurance markets is achievable on some of the major projects. 8 Willis Construction Market Review June 2005

11 London and European Market Overview continued Contractors All Risks /Erection All Risks (CAR/EAR) Markets Within the tables which follow, we outline a selection of the Lead and Follow markets, their financial strength rating, capacities and their preferred construction business focus. Each market has at least one dedicated resource for this specialisation. It should be recognised that many global market centres have some of the same carriers but these will be limited to business within their dedicated region and are more often than not limited by size and/or type of account they can underwrite without referral to head office. Our aim here is to provide you with a comprehensive summary of global market options that we have at our disposal. Willis Construction Market Review June

12 London and European Market Overview continued Lead Markets Company Standard & Poor's PML Capacity Commentary Rating (USD) GE Frankona A+ 75,000,000 Lead market on International and UK business, both EAR and CAR. Prefer not to underwrite heavy civil risks. Currently rebuilding their construction team AIG* AA+ 100,000,000 Lead market. EAR risks are preferred but are expanding into some of the larger civils building projects Generali AA 35,000,000 Prefer long-term accounts contractor business, little project involvement. Can write both CAR and EAR ACE Europe A+ 50,000,000 Mainly UK annuals and UK building projects. No heavy civils and only support line market for oil, gas and petrochemical accounts. Lead market for power/utility business in UK and International Swiss Re AA+ 100,000,000 Major market leader for all industry types Munich Re A+ 100,000,000 Major market leader for all industry types Zurich Specialties A- 75,000,000 Major market leader for all industry types Allianz Cornhill AA- 100,000,000 Lead market for all UK industry types. Utilise regional offices for business generated outside the UK under 500m. Strong focus on international energy business Liberty International A+ (Best) 75,000,000 Mainly EAR business only. Lead market capability on oil, gas, petrochemical, power and utilities Royal & SunAlliance A- 30,000,000 UK domestic business only. Lead market on CAR but not heavy civil projects Mitsui AA- 20,000,000 New entrant. CAR business only but limited appetite for heavy civil projects. Predominantly UK focus with some European business. Annual and project business including PPP/PFI Beazley Syndicate (Lloyd s) A 50,000,000 New entrant. EAR/CAR business worldwide *Based on Sum Insured not PML 10 Willis Construction Market Review June 2005

13 London and European Market Overview continued Follow Markets Company Standard & Poor's PML Capacity Commentary Rating (USD) Converium BBB+ 40,000,000 Can lead small business but prefer to play active support role. CAR and EAR. Security review required Partner Re AA- 30,000,000 Can lead small business but prefer to play active support role. CAR and EAR Transatlantic Re AA 30,000,000 Prefer EAR business only Tokio Marine and Fire AA- 30,000,000 CAR and EAR. Worldwide ability but prefer support line role Millennium Syndicate (Lloyd's) A 40,000,000 EAR only Munich American Risk Partners A+ 20,000,000 EAR/CAR. Principally support market ARCH A- (Best) 25,000,000 New entrant into the CAR/EAR market and some welcome additional support capacity. No wet/ tunnelling projects SCOR BBB+ 100,000,000 Historically a lead market (EAR/CAR both international and UK business). Security review required Catlin Syndicate (Lloyds) A (Best) 30,000,000 Can lead small to medium-sized business. UK and annual contractor focus but no wet/tunnelling projects Illium Syndicate (Lloyds) A 10,000,000 Lead/support market annual business. Prefer UK business Gerling BBB+ 40,000,000 Lead/support market on UK annual/project business Berkshire Hathaway AAA As negotiated on Nat CAT capacity provider. High layers preferred. case-by-case basis Not a conventional construction market on day-today business. Capacity solution provided on major value exposures Willis Construction Market Review June

14 London and European Market Overview continued Liability Market Third Party Liability markets peaked in the first quarter of 2004, where prices in some instances had increased by 100% since 9/11, driven by both lack of capacity and poor loss records. They are now in a softening market cycle where capacity is again competing for market share and rating is reducing, although not to the dramatic levels of the property markets. Insurers have had difficulty meeting their aggressive revenue targets in 2004 and it appears 2005 will see continued hunger for business and more price flexibility. Certain industry sectors will continue to remain challenging, particularly aviation, rail and risks exposed to the US legal system. Although pricing is under attack, insurers are resisting a widening of coverage and exclusions of terrorism, asbestos, toxic mould and silica remain. The Employers' Liability market is now also experiencing rate reductions. New capacity has eased the difficulties of limited options for clients. However, insurers still require a clear understanding of the client's own Health and Safety programme before committing to pricing. 12 Willis Construction Market Review June 2005

15 London and European Market Overview continued Liability Market - continued Company Standard & Poor's PML Capacity Rating ACE UK A PL 35 million EL 25 million ACE Global A PL USD 50 million Eur 50 milllion EL USD 50 million Eur 50 milllion AIG UK AA+ PL 35 million EL 35 million AIG INT AA+ PL USD 50 million EL USD 50 million BRIT A Strong Lloyd's Rating UK 15 million INT USD equivalent CNA A- UK 10 million INT USD 15 million DAC A Strong Lloyd's Rating PL UK 50 million EL 50 million PL INT USD 90 million EL USD 90 million Frankona A+ INT USD 25 million UK equivalent New Line A Strong Lloyd's Rating PL UK 15 million INT USD equivalent QBE A+ PL,EL UK 15 million PL USD 30 million Liberty A+ PL UK 10 million EL 10 million Illium Syndicate (Lloyds) A Strong Lloyd's Rating PL UK 15 million EL 15 million PL INT USD 22.5 million Willis Construction Market Review June

16 London and European Market Overview continued Facultative and Treaty Reinsurance Market This renewal season saw reinsurers putting increased emphasis on confidence and complete transparency in the underwriting ability of their cedants. This has led to ever-more detailed renewal presentations including everything necessary to analyse and rate a treaty. It was also apparent that reinsurers continued to refine the requirements they had set during the 2003 and 2004 renewal seasons. Reinsurers need to understand, and agree with, their cedants' approach to managing the market cycle. Tighter profitability targets are being adhered to on treaty business, with deductions coming under increasing pressure. Reinsurers are continually enhancing their information requirements, including that for original Ultimate Nett Loss Ratio projections, broken down by attritional, severity and natural perils' experience. Reinsurers have placed greater emphasis on pricing and expect cedants to monitor developments in this respect. As the inherent nature of our business is cyclical, this is part of their change in outlook from being "reactive" to "proactive", so as to avoid the largely reflex reactions experienced in the past. To an extent this new attitude reflects the growing influence of actuaries in the business and most major reinsurers now employ dedicated teams. There is pressure on proportional treaties, where questions have been raised as to the viability of ceding too much "good" business to reinsurers versus paying away a lesser amount of premium for Excess of Loss cover. What is called for now is a "hybrid" to maintain the characteristics of "partnership" associated with proportional, combined with the lower economic cost of Excess of Loss, and we are actively working towards a solution. There has been a lot of resistance from reinsurers to new direct capacity entering the market, even when this has been as a result of experienced teams moving. Rating movements for construction projects remain firm but annual covers are coming under downward pressure. Property markets are once again encroaching on Operational "All Risks" covers and causing some reduction in rates. So far we have not seen the same pressure applied to conditions or deductibles, which remain firm. 14 Willis Construction Market Review June 2005

17 Willis Global Overview Asia Pacific The Asian construction reinsurance market has developed rapidly over the past ten years or so to a position today where significant capacity exists for Asian-based construction projects. To talk of Asia as a single marketplace is to underestimate the influences of the local markets and traditions that remain. Many locations maintain strict non-admitted policies, as well as compulsory requirements to reinsure with government-owned companies. Having said this, the markets of Singapore and Hong Kong have an important regional role to play for Asian-based projects and provide much of the facultative capacity required for the larger CAR and EAR placements. Hong Kong and Singapore Most major CAR and EAR reinsurers have a regional presence in either Hong Kong or Singapore, and often both. Companies in many instances have arranged their underwriting guidelines so that Hong Kong responds to projects in northern Asia and Singapore to southern Asia. The majority of the capacity available is provided by the 'international' reinsurance companies from Europe and America with very little capacity available from Asian reinsurance companies. Most of these international firms have dedicated engineering underwriters on staff, plus risk surveyors servicing construction as a dedicated line of business. These underwriters' access to Group capacity is generally high, with referral to Head Office only required for the very largest and most unusual risks. It is, therefore, true to say that the best place to find reinsurance capacity for an Asianbased construction project is in Asia. The Asian insurance market has traditionally been competitive when compared to Europe and the USA and this remains broadly true today. International companies continue to view Asia as a long-term growth market and are disposed to offer clients attractive pricing in order to improve their penetration and grow their top line revenue. Willis Construction Market Review June

18 Willis Global Overview continued China Figure 1 Global construction Spending 2003 US$bn USA Japan China Germany Italy France UK Brazil Spain Korea Mexico Australia India Hong Kong Other countries Source: DLSI and Global Insight (2003) Figure 2 Global construction Spending % USA Japan China Germany Italy France UK Brazil Spain Korea Mexico Australia India Hong Kong Other countries Source: DLSI and Global Insight (2003) As can be seen from Figures 1 and 2, China is becoming the largest and most dynamic construction market in the world. It is also a market which is constantly changing from an insurance and reinsurance view point. Major treaty reinsurance deals offered in the 1990s and early 2000s, coupled with a very restrictive legal environment where essentially only three insurers were able to transact business, has created a market where price has been virtually the only criteria on which the insurers could differentiate themselves. Pricing of standard CAR and EAR insurance products has been somewhere in the order of 50% of the rate attracted by similar projects outside of China. The restrictive market has, however, discouraged innovation in the area of policy coverage and/or value added services, such as risk engineering and risk management. Coupled with security concerns, this has resulted in most of the major internationally-funded projects seeking to partner the Chinese insurers, along with their traditional international reinsurance providers. 16 Willis Construction Market Review June 2005

19 Willis Global Overview continued The gradual deregulation of the Chinese insurance market following China's membership of the WTO is starting to have some effect, with a greater degree of choice for the insurance buyer in China. Restrictive requirements on policy forms previously governed by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) are now showing signs of being more flexible and the number of foreign insurers licensed to transact business in China is ever increasing. Capacity still exists and very attractive pricing for the right type of project can be achieved if a carefully planned marketing strategy is adopted by the client. Significant risks, such as tunnels, gasfired turbines and major oil and gas projects, often fall outside the local market's treaty arrangements, requiring lead and support capacity from the London and European reinsurers on a facultative basis. Delay in Start-up insurance is also a treaty exclusion for the domestic insurers, again requiring an international approach to the marketing strategy. Willis Construction Market Review June

20 Willis Global Overview continued Australia The tough insurance market conditions experienced by contractors in recent years have eased considerably in the past twelve months. The market generally is now providing adequate capacity for all project types and is competing vigorously for good, well-engineered risks. The reputation of the contractor, as well as a good claims history, still attracts discount from insurers. Our marketing strategies last year involved more discussion about the quality of projects, contractor reputation, risk engineering and risk management of the contract than in previous years. This will continue in Whilst the market is not soft by any means, it is eager to write well-structured programmes that are presented professionally. We see the market in Australia softening further in 2005/2006. Major world disasters have had little financial effect on the Australian insurance market. Local insurers had very positive results in 2004, reporting good underwriting results and increased dividends to shareholders from record profits. Executives of the major insurers need to grow their businesses to meet shareholder expectations. We believe this will lead to even more competition and innovative approaches to marketing and sales. Interest rates are low by historical standards and any upward movement will create an environment for premium rate reductions. Whilst the Australian market is still competitive, the London market has always provided a more sophisticated approach and greater capacity, with broader wordings for those clients who believe cover is the most important issue. We are constantly reviewing policy coverage with our major Australian insurers. Our predictions in relation to key market segments and policy types are as follows: CAR/EAR Market Since December 2003 we have seen a general easing of rates in the Australian market, particularly in relation to the building sector. Civil and mechanical engineering risks are still treated with caution by leading experienced insurers, with each project being rated on its merits. It is, therefore, vital that the project and construction methods, contract conditions and management of risk are fully understood so that the project is considered in the best possible light. Failure to do so will see the insurer erring on the side of caution and loading the rate to compensate for the unknown. The engineering insurance market in Australia is, for the most part, controlled by the two leading global reinsurers, Munich Re and Swiss Re, who influence local insurers in both the scope of coverage provided and the level of premium rates charged to contractors. 18 Willis Construction Market Review June 2005

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