Willis Re Launches $400 Million Global Facility to Tackle Catastrophic Casualty Loss

LONDON, May 13, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Willis Re, the reinsurance division of Willis Group Holdings plc (NYSE:WSH), the global risk advisory, re/insurance broking, and human capital and benefits firm, has today announced the establishment of a unique syndicated reinsurance facility providing the broadest protection available for insurers against catastrophic and systemic loss accumulations arising from liability portfolios.

Named PRIMO, the facility responds to increasing concern around accumulation and systemic risk at a time when insurers are retaining more liability exposure than ever before: while greater scale and diversification help to manage expected loss they also magnify unexpected systemic exposures and accumulation risk in an increasingly complex and interconnected world.

Designed to respond across all casualty and professional lines, and initially supported by 20 of the world’s leading reinsurers, the new global facility is an industry-first for casualty cover in providing over $400 million of reinsurance capacity worldwide on the basis of pre-agreed contract wording. In addition, PRIMO not only streamlines the process of building reinsurance to address complex tail exposure but, through syndication, delivers depth to the market, ensuring competitive pricing and cross-cycle resilience.

Commenting on the launch, John Cavanagh, Global CEO of Willis Re, said: “PRIMO builds on over 25 years of continuous research and development since its precursor was developed in the late 1980s. Willis Re can now offer our diverse and global clients a tried and tested reinsurance solution protecting against events that impact multiple accident years, create quarter-on-quarter earnings pressure and represent a significant unknown in terms of quantum from the time the event is discovered until it becomes a paid loss.”

Andrew Newman, Head of Global Casualty at Willis Re, said: “While the first-party risks from earthquake, wind, flood and other manmade perils are well served by property catastrophe reinsurance markets, until today third-party casualty risks have been considerably less well served. While conventional clash reinsurance products can respond well to certain threat scenarios such as industrial accidents, or earthquake threat to workers compensation, they are not designed to and do not offer broad systemic protection. Now, for the first time, meaningful catastrophic reinsurance protection is available, and affordable, for writers of casualty business, including all financial and injury-based lines.”

David Marra, Chief Underwriting Officer – Casualty & Specialty, RenaissanceRe, said: “We are pleased to support the evolution of the PRIMO facility to offer meaningful casualty catastrophe coverage to P&C companies around the world. RenaissanceRe has been involved with its precursor for over 10 years as it responded to catastrophic casualty events, and we are delighted to bring solutions to a wider number of clients through PRIMO.”

Simon Bird, Head of Casualty Treaty at BRIT Syndicate 2987, said: “The PRIMO facility demonstrates the ability of the reinsurance market to offer both significant capacity in terms of quantum and a structure designed to give broad coverage. As such it delivers a meaningful tool whereby casualty aggregations, both known and unknown, can be more effectively managed.”

About Willis Re

One of the world's leading reinsurance brokers, Willis Re is known for its world-class Analytics capabilities, which it combines with its Reinsurance expertise in a seamless, integrated offering that can help clients increase the value of their businesses. Willis Re serves the risk management and risk transfer needs of a diverse, global client base that includes all of the world's top insurance and reinsurance carriers as well as national catastrophe schemes in many countries around the world. The broker's global team of experts offers services and advice that can help clients make better reinsurance decisions and negotiate optimum terms. For more information, visit www.willisre.com.

About Willis

Willis Group Holdings plc is a global risk advisory, re/insurance broking, and human capital and benefits firm. With roots dating to 1828, Willis operates today on every continent with more than 18,000 employees in over 400 offices. Willis offers its clients superior expertise, teamwork, innovation and market-leading products and professional services in risk management and transfer. Our experts rank among the world’s leading authorities on analytics, modeling and mitigation strategies at the intersection of global commerce and extreme events. Find more information at our website, www.willis.com, our leadership journal, Resilience, or our up-to-the-minute blog on breaking news, WillisWire. Across geographies, industries and specialisms, Willis provides its local and multinational clients with resilience for a risky world.

Media: Laura Molloy +44 20 3124 8555 Email: Laura.Molloy@willis.com Investors: Peter Poillon +1 212 915 8084 Email: Peter.Poillon@willis.com

Source:Willis Group Holdings