Aspen Re’s Milner: Casualty business must be “viable”

With prior year deterioration coming through on casualty business, the pricing environment for the class is a major focus for Aspen Re’s Richard Milner during renewal season.

Speaking to The ReInsurer, Milner, who is senior managing director, International at Aspen Re, said: “A big area of focus for us is casualty treaty. We write a significant portfolio of treaty business all over the world and as with others, we have seen the prior year deterioration coming through.”

He added: “So we are looking at that and looking to do what we need to add to those contracts to make them viable going forward.” 

Leaning on long-term “excellent relationships” with clients and brokers will be key to this, Milner explained.

“We’re not looking to disrupt [those relationships] but I think a fair price for the exposure is what we’re looking for in that arena,” he said. 

Another key area where Aspen Re is focused on and is encouraged by hardening rates is property cat business.

“Property cat is an area that we are particularly focused on and in certain territories there are already some good signs of improvement in terms, but we feel that is also necessary in many other geographies where we underwrite cat business.

“You only have to look at the last two, three, four years of results in the property cat arena to realise that it hasn’t made the appropriate returns and we will look across that area to increase rates,” he said. 

However, Milner is hesitant to generalise rate hardening, asserting that it’s important to focus on individual clients in the process. 

“I’m not particularly keen on generalising. We are focused on all our individual clients and each deal is different. 

“We will try to make appropriate changes if they are required,” said Milner. 

On the whole, Milner said Aspen Re is “feeling pretty well set up” in the run up to the renewal season. 

“It’s certainly going to be an interesting renewal season in terms of our expectations and our priorities, but we have a pretty clear focus on what we require from our underwriting teams around the world and ultimately that’s to achieve an improvement on our overall portfolio.

“The goal is to charge the right price for the exposures we’re covering and I think equally as important is to ensure that the terms and conditions in each contract are as strong as they should be,” he said. 

For Milner, if anything was going to dilute the hardening environment it would be new capital coming into the market and a lack of underwriting discipline.