Tianjin Explosions - A Case Study

The August explosions at the port of Tianjin in China are likely the largest man-made insurance loss of 2015, and Swiss Re pegs it as the 4th most expensive man-made loss in history on a constant dollar basis:  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-18/from-berkshire-to-zurich-here-s-what-insurers-lost-on-tianjin?cmpid=yhoo.headline

Bloomberg lists insurers with publicly disclosed loss estimates totaling $2 billion so far.  It is interesting to note the concentration of that loss by individual insurer: 6 insurers are bearing a total of $1.1 billion, or more than half of the direct loss.  Just 2 insurers expect to pay over $0.5 billion, or 25% of the total.  This highlights the role of a small number of global firms (Berkshire, Swiss Re, Munich Re, Hannover Re, Zurich) as the "insurers of last resort" of large unanticipated events but also the fact that those firms have very limited access to meaningful retrocessional reinsurance of their own with the consequence that they keep potentially very large exposures on their balance sheets.

Extraordinary Re seeks to create a new form of risk transfer of large, unanticipated losses to capital markets investors that could provide additional capital support to the global reinsurance industry while also making new asset classes with attractive risk-adjusted returns available to investors.