Ince & Co LLP
It is hard to overstate the importance of insurance in personal and commercial life. It is the key means by which individuals and businesses are able to reduce the financial impact of a risk occurring. Reinsurance is equally significant; it protects insurers against very large claims and helps to obtain an international spread of risk. Insurance and reinsurance play an important role in the world economy. It is an increasingly global industry, with the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China developing apace.
Given the expanding reach of the industry, there is a need for a source of reference that analyses recent developments in the key jurisdictions on a comparative basis. This volume, to which leading insurance and reinsurance practitioners around the world have made valuable contributions, seeks to fulfil that need. I would like to thank all of the contributors for their work in compiling this volume.
Looking back on the past year, market estimates suggest that total economic losses from natural and man-made disasters will be at least US$158 billion, significantly higher than the US$94 billion losses in 2015. Insured losses from 2016 will also be higher, at around US$49 billion compared with US$37 billion in the previous year. Earthquakes (in Taiwan, Japan, Ecuador, Italy and New Zealand), hail and thunderstorms and Hurricane Matthew were responsible for the largest insurance losses, with the latter causing devastation across the east Caribbean and south-eastern US. The US, Europe and Asia all experienced heavy flooding, while wildfires sparked the biggest ever loss for Canada’s insurance industry.
Tragically, approximately 10,000 people lost their lives in disaster events in 2016. Events such as these test not only insurers and reinsurers but also the rigour of the law. Insurance and reinsurance disputes provide a never-ending array of complex legal issues and new points for the courts and arbitral tribunals to consider.