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Hardening market is a long-term shift, warn Airmic and GVNW

Airmic, GVNW 26th February 2020

Separate surveys of the insurance environment for corporate policyholders in the UK and Germany have demonstrated a fundamental shift in pricing and the scope and availability of cover, and revealed widespread dissatisfaction with the handling of the changing conditions by insurers and brokers.

The surveys were conducted by the UK risk and insurance management association, Airmic, and the German risk and insurance management association, GVNW, in January and February 2020. The results reveal very similar trends in both countries, including:

  • Rates have risen for almost all businesses (94% UK, 93% Germany).
  • The impact of the hardening market goes beyond price, with reduced capacity, an increase in exclusions, and unavailability of cover for some, having a significant impact on 2019 renewals.
  • D&O rates have been hardest hit, with over 80% of respondents noting price rises in the UK and over 60% in Germany. In the UK, 13% have seen D&O rates more than double.
  • There is frustration at poor or late communication from insurance partners (43% UK, 62%, Germany) and over half of policyholders are only partially satisfied or not satisfied with service from brokers.
  • The majority of businesses (65% UK, 53% Germany) are exploring alternative risk transfer solutions, including new and greater use of captives, for their 2020 renewals, and over a third (33% UK, 46% Germany) plan to invest more in risk management solutions.

Airmic and GVNW believe the results are a clear message to the market to improve service or trigger a long-term change in insurance buying habits:

“With prices rising, the service provided by insurers has to shine even more – it has to be perfect, and yet both surveys reveal customer dissatisfaction,” comments Joerg Henne, managing director of GVNW. “Communication and transparency need to improve and good risk management should be rewarded. Businesses understand their risks better than ever before and the fact that we are seeing risk professionals exploring alternative risk transfer solutions for 2020 renewals should be a wakeup call to the market.”

Airmic and GVNW believe that the survey results strengthen the view that current pricing conditions represent a long-term shift in market behaviour:


“Today’s market conditions are notably different to previous hard markets which were cyclical and focused on price,” comments Julia Graham, deputy CEO and technical director at Airmic. “Today, by comparison, we are also seeing reduced capacity, an increase in exclusions and in some cases the complete withdrawal of cover. There are also early signs of changing claims behaviour which we are monitoring closely. This is a seismic shift. To stay relevant, the market must become more customer- centric, make better use of technology to improve service, and provide more innovative solutions.”


About the surveys: Airmic and GVNW conducted separate surveys of their senior membership during January and February 2020. The content of the surveys was the same so that the results can be compared. Airmic’s survey had 55 responses (a response level in excess of 70% of those polled) and GVNW had 56 responses. To receive a full copy of the results for either survey, please contact Jessica Titherington (details below).

About Airmic: The leading UK association for everyone who has a responsibility for risk management and insurance for their organisation, Airmic has over 450 corporate members and more than 1,300 individual members. Individual members include company secretaries, finance directors, internal auditors, as well as risk and insurance professionals from all sectors. Airmic supports members through: training and research; sharing information; a diverse programme of events; encouraging good practice; and lobbying on subjects that directly affect its members.

About GVNW: Founded in 1901 the “Gesamtverband der versicherungsnehmenden Wirtschaft e.V. - GVNW“ represent insured companies from large listed global players to smaller family owned businesses. The GVNW supports its over 900 member companies with a team of in-house experts by offering consulting services on all commercial insurance lines. The popular events organised by the GVNW include the largest corporate insurance congress – the GVNW Symposium. The monthly magazine “Die VersicherungsPraxis” gives members and the market a profound views on current insurance topics.

For more information or to request an interview, contact Airmic’s communications manager:

Jessica Titherington | +44(0)7733 261445 |