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Insight Report: Specialty Insurance - Key Trends and Opportunities in the Market

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Published Date : Aug 2014

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No. of Pages : 44 Pages


The report covers in-depth analysis of specialty insurance market and provides:

  • Detail analysis of the specialty insurance market size and its growth potential over the period 2014–2018.
  • Comprehensive analysis of key features of the specialty insurance market.
  • Details of trends and developments in specialty insurance markets across the world.
  • Comprehensive analysis of long-term growth strategies for specialty carriers.
  • Insights into details of leading specialty carriers, and product lines offered by them.
Executive summary

A challenging property and casualty market, along with weakening profitability, led to the growth of the specialty insurance market, which is becoming increasingly global in nature with specialty carriers trending in similar lines and facing common issues. The global outlook for specialty insurance is positive for 2014–2018.

The US is the largest market for specialty insurance

Specialty insurance includes high-hazard insurance, non-standard general insurance, niche market segments, bespoke underwriting, and excess and surplus lines insurance. As there is no standard definition for specialty insurance, estimating the market size is complicated. The global market size for specialty insurance, in terms of gross written premium, was estimated to be in the range of US$140–180 billion in 2013. The US is the largest specialty insurance market, contributing more than 50% of the overall gross written premium in 2013.

Market capacity for cyber-liability insurance is growing rapidly

Growing rates of cybercrime and data breaches have increased demand for insurance protection against cyber-attacks. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in June 2014, total global losses due to cybercrime stood at US$445 billion in 2013. The cyber liability market is a growing opportunity for specialty carriers. In 2013, the market capacity for the US cyber liability insurance was estimated at US$1 billion, and is expected to cross US$2 billion by the end of 2014. Other than the US, European economies are the key markets for cyber-liability insurance. Although the European cyber-liability market is relatively small at present, it is growing at an annual average rate of 50%.

Superior underwriting profits driving growth 

Specialty insurance is a high-risk, high-return market characterized by underwriting profitability. The underwriting cycles for specialty insurance products are currently in a difficult market phase, resulting in higher underwriting profits for insurers. On average, specialty carriers across the world generate strong underwriting profitability in comparison to property and casualty insurers. However, their exposures to catastrophic risks led to record losses in 2011 as a result of the earthquake in Japan and the Thai floods.

Lack of underwriting talent the biggest obstacle to growth 

The success of specialty carriers depends on the pool of underwriting and actuarial talent. High risk levels and the complex nature of specialty products require expert knowledge for profitable underwriting, and sourcing and retaining qualified professionals has become a fundamental problem for specialty insurers across the world. This is expected to result in significant wage inflation over 2014–2018. To address this issue, insurers are focusing on developing in-house talent through internal programs. Many specialty insurers depend on syndicates of underwriting experts such as Lloyd’s.


  • This report covers the current market size and growth potential of the global specialty insurance market.
  • The report discusses key success factors for specialty carriers.
  • The report analyzes key organic and inorganic growth strategies for specialty carriers.
  • The report discusses emerging risks and available growth opportunities for specialty carriers.
  • The report provides a summary of quarterly changes in premium prices for key specialty lines during 2013 and the first half of 2014.
Reasons to buy

  • Gain insights into the global specialty insurance market
  • Assess the growth potential of the specialty insurance market
  • Understand key success factors for specialty carriers
  • Gain an understanding of various factors driving the growth of specialty insurance business, and key challenges faced by specialty carriers
  • Understand various growth strategies for specialty carriers
Key highlights

  • The US is the largest specialty insurance market contributing more than 50% of the overall gross written premium in 2013.
  • Cyber-risk, carbon credit risk, risks associated with change in space weather, changing technology, and changes in prices of input materials for manufacturing industries are key emerging risks offering huge growth potential for specialty carriers.
  • Underwriting margin is very high for specialty insurance and specialty carriers across the world generate strong underwriting profitability in comparison to property and casualty insurers.
  • Lack of underwriting expert is the biggest challenge faced by specialty carriers.
  • Large-scale natural disasters not only cause huge insured losses, but also act as a trigger to increase demand for specialty insurance products.
  • Asia and Latin America provides huge growth opportunities for specialty carriers over the period 2014–2018.
Table of Content

1 Executive Summary

2 Market Size and Overview
2.1 Market Size
2.2 Key Success Factors
2.2.1 Achieving a profitable customer base
2.2.2 Selecting the right products
2.2.3 Accuracy in underwriting and product pricing
2.2.4 Choosing the right distribution channel

3 Key Market Features
3.1 Superior Underwriting Profits
3.2 Low Competition
3.3 Exposure to Natural Disasters
3.4 Declining Investment Income
3.5 Shortage of Underwriting Experts

4 Global Trends and Developments
4.1 Emerging Risks
4.2 Regulatory Changes
4.3 Global Premium Pricing Trends

5 Growth Strategies
5.1 Managing Underwriting Performances
5.2 Managing Expense Ratios
5.3 Innovation
5.4 Product Line Extension
5.5 Geographic Diversification

6 Appendix – I: Company Profiles 
6.1 Lloyd’s
6.2 Catlin Group Ltd
6.3 Hiscox Ltd
6.4 HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc.
6.5 RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd

7 Appendix – II
7.1 Methodology
7.2 Contact Timetric
7.3 About Timetric
7.4 Timetric’s Services
7.5 Disclaimer

List of Table

Table 1: Profitable Product Lines for Specialty Carriers
Table 2: Major Natural Disasters – Estimated Losses 
Table 3: Premium Rate Changes – CAT–Exposed Property Insurance, 2013–2014
Table 4: Premium Rate Changes – Directors’ and Officers’ Insurance, 2013–2014
Table 5: Premium Rate Changes – Professional Liability Insurance, 2013–2014
Table 6: Premium Rate Changes – Financial Institutions Insurance, 2013–2014
Table 7: Non-Life Insurance – Loss Ratios in Key World Markets (%), 2009–2013
Table 8: Non-Life Insurance – Combined Ratio (%), 2009–2013
Table 9: Global Risk Index (Top 20 Risks), 2009–2013 
Table 10: Global Underinsurance Index, 2012
Table 11: Lloyd’s, Key Facts
Table 12: Lloyd’s, Key Specialty Insurance Product Lines
Table 13: Lloyd’s, Key Employees
Table 14: Catlin Group Ltd, Key Facts
Table 15: Catlin Group Ltd, Key Specialty Insurance Product Lines
Table 16: Catlin Group Ltd, Key Employees
Table 17: Hiscox Ltd, Key Facts
Table 18: Hiscox Ltd, Key Specialty Insurance Product Lines
Table 19: Hiscox Ltd, Key Employees 
Table 20: HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc., Key Facts
Table 21: HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc., Key Specialty Insurance Product Lines
Table 22: HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc., Key Employees
Table 23: RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd, Key Facts
Table 24: RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd, Key Specialty Insurance Product Lines 
Table 25: RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd, Key Employees

List of Chart

Figure 1: Specialty Insurance – Market Shares by Type of Risk, 2013
Figure 2: Specialty Insurance – Underwriting Profitability of Leading Specialty Carriers, 2009–2013
Figure 3: Global Insured, Total Economic and Uninsured Catastrophic Losses, 2009–2013
Figure 4: Catlin – Impact of Natural Catastrophes on Premium Rates, 2009–2013
Figure 5: Long-Term Interest Rates in Key Economies, 2004–2013
Figure 6: Investment Returns of Key Specialty Carriers, 2009–2013
Figure 7: Cybercrime – Data Breaches by Industry, 2013
Figure 8: US Cyber-Liability Insurance Market – Changes in Premium Rates (Price per Million), 2013
Figure 9: Specialty Carriers – Growth Strategies
Figure 10: Specialty Carriers – Loss Ratios, 2009–2013
Figure 11: Specialty Carriers – Combined Ratios, 2009–2013
Figure 12: Lloyd’s – Gross Written Premium by Region, 2013

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