Howden CEO says commercial rates should flatten this year – report

In an interview with the FT, David Howden predicts increase in (re)insurance capacity and end to a 25-quarter hard market.

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Howden ceo says commercial rates should flatten this year report
Howden ceo says commercial rates should flatten this year report
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Howden ceo says commercial rates should flatten this year report

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(Re)in Summary

• In an interview with the FT, David Howden, CEO of Howden, said he expects commercial insurance rates to flatten in 2024.
• His prediction comes after a 25-quarter hard market driven by factors like inflation, conflict, and extreme weather.
• Howden expects a recovery in (re)insurance capacity, thanks in part to new capital coming to the market from areas such as ILS.

David Howden, CEO of global broker Howden, has forecast commercial insurance rates to flatten in 2024, predicting an end to a 25-quarter hard market which has been fuelled by factors such as inflation, conflict, and extreme weather.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Howden said he anticipates a moderation in rate increases as the capacity of insurance and reinsurance recovers, thanks in part to new capital coming into the market from areas such as insurance-linked securities.

“We’re now beginning to see some green shoots,” Howden said, adding that the levelling of prices would alleviate some of the strain on business clients, who have been navigating what he describes as “the hardest insurance market we’ve ever seen.”

Howden also touched on other issues, including the competitive broking landscape, pointing out that the market now offers more choices for clients.

“There’s definitely more choice for clients [now],” he said. “If you look at the reinsurance side, there were really three [big] reinsurance brokers for donkey’s years. We now talk about there being four tier-one reinsurance brokers, and we are one of them.”

His comments come nearly three years after US regulators halted Aon’s planned US$30bn acquisition of Willis Towers Watson over concerns about market concentration.

Howden Group, who now employs 16,000 staff across 50 countries, reported a year-on-year revenue increase of 33% to £2.4bn (US$3.03bn) for the year ending September 2023, thanks to 13% organic revenue growth and 56 global acquisitions.

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