There are some green shoots of recovery beginning to show in the commercial insurance market. This is according to Airmic CEO Julia Graham, speaking at the Airmic 2021 press conference.

Airmic coined the phrase “harsh market” to describe a perfect storm of rising rates, tightening terms and conditions and restrictive coverage.

At last year’s virtual Airmic Fest, some corporate insurance buyers expressed their frustration that - for D&O in particular - underwriters had been ‘hiding behind the technology’ rather than fronting up to difficult renewal discussions.

But lessons have been learned and Graham said she was seeing brokers and insurers reaching out to grow their partnerships.

“As long as you get trustworthiness that’s a pretty good start,” she said. “If you can’t do something, say you can’t do something. But don’t tell us three minutes before renewal.”

The hardening phase of the market is far from over and some rates are continuing to rise sharply. While D&O was the most distressed class in 2020, it has been replaced with cyber, explained Graham.

According to Airmic’s latest Pulse survey, premium rates for cyber are rising and increases of +400% have been seen for the first time in these surveys.

Graham said it was important for buyers to understand why they were buying. For some risk and insurance managers, the purchase of cyber is less about risk transfer and more about the value-added response services attached to the cover.