Monday, July 19, 2010

More indices - insurance linked

This copy of Sigma has been sitting around for way too without being mentioned here: The role of indices in transferring insurance risks to the capital markets. It's such a comprehensive overview of insurance linked securities (ILS) that I wanted to do an in-depth review, but never got round to it. Given that this market segment links two very relevant marketplaces (capital markets and reinsurance), its growth from 4% of catastrophe reinsurance capacity 5 years ago to 12% of capacity now is substantive. However, Sigma does not answer the #1 question that concerns me as an investor: how do I know whether the premium I get for taking the risk in question is fair, assuming that the issuer will only approach the ILS market if he thinks that he can get a better deal there than in the conventional reinsurance market? How is the reinsurance market in any specific segment priced? There seems to be a significant amount of information asymmetry there.

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