IGI’s Jabsheh: Too soon to even consider property cat rate reductions

International General Insurance (IGI)’s newly appointed CEO Waleed Jabsheh has insisted it remains far too early to even contemplate reductions in property catastrophe reinsurance pricing, as the market needs further time to make up for the past five years of limited returns.

Jabsheh, who assumed the CEO position at IGI from Wasef Jabsheh in June, said reinsurance company returns over the past five years “have either been disappointing or non-existent”.

The shift in the industry’s landscape seen this year was described by Jabsheh as “a significant change”, with pricing shifting up and reinsurers imposing far greater restrictions and tighter terms and conditions.

“The reinsurance market has taken significant steps to improve conditions, and the challenge now is to maintain that,” Jabsheh stated.

The executive spoke to The Insurer TV during the Rendez-Vous de Septembre earlier this month. Jabsheh said one of the main talking points of the industry conclave was how long the harder trading conditions in the property catastrophe reinsurance market would last.

But Jabsheh dismissed such talk, and said it was too early to even contemplate any flattening or decreases.

“Here in Monte Carlo, you hear talk about ‘how long is this [current trading environment] going to last?’ It's too early to even ask that question,” he declared.

“We've come out of a really difficult place, and we need time to make up for what's been lost over the last few years, otherwise, the reinsurance space will have a lot of questions to answer.”

Growth opportunities

For IGI, Jabsheh said there is plenty of opportunity for the business to grow, provided the company remains conscious of the challenges in the market.

“The opportunities are abundant, as long as we maintain discipline [and] we maintain focus,” he said.

“For a company like IGI, business lines vary [and] our geographical targets vary, [but] we have different opportunities and challenges in each one.”

However, Jabsheh said the “opportunities are there to be taken advantage of”.

“The mistake not to be made is assuming that this is a hard market and that reflects just a ‘write as much as you can’ scenario, because it isn't.

“There's still fragility [and] there are still areas of significant risk out there. We need to be selective and we need to be focused on what exactly we want to do.”

Factoring that in, Jabsheh said IGI is growing its reinsurance book as it looks to take advantage of the improved sector conditions.

“Geographically, the US is a market we entered just over three years ago, and we're seeing the healthiest rating environment there,” said Jabsheh.

“We're writing a purely short-tail portfolio, and that's where our appetite lies. We've got no interest in expanding into any long-tail business in the US.”

But it is not only in the US where Jabsheh said IGI is eyeing growth, with the business also spying opportunities in Europe and Asia.

Watch the full 11-minute interview with Waleed Jabsheh to hear more on:

  • Which business lines IGI sees the greatest opportunities in
  • How the company is navigating rising interest rates and inflation
  • The (re)insurer’s capital management program