Antares CEO sees ‘12-18 months’ of rate rises

Antares Chief Executive Officer, Michael van der Straaten, expects to see continued rate rises in the next 12 to 18 months in most of the lines that Antares is underwriting. Over recent years, the group has sharply trimmed the size of its reinsurance business Antares Re, from about $1.6bn in 2016 to about $600m in 2020.

Antares wrote around $1.2bn of business through its Gibraltar-based insurance companies, around $600m through Malta-based QIC Europe Limited (QEL) and around $500m through its Lloyd’s syndicate Antares.

Antares is highly exposed to motor business, which has performed strongly through the COVID-19 pandemic as people have driven fewer miles and had therefore fewer claims.

Michael van der Straaten, CEO of Antares said:

The motor market has flattened somewhat in the last couple of months but with the FCA pricing requirements that are going in place now I think rates will start to increase around October,” van der Straaten told Insurance Day.

[With] the inflation we’re seeing in accidental damage and repairs, the market can’t operate at the current prices.

Antares intends to continue to reduce the size of its reinsurance business while maintaining its overall premiums of $2.6bn relatively stable. Antares Syndicate 1274, which wrote about $500m of business last year, will write about $550 this year, van der Straaten said.

The role of Antares Re will shift towards reinsuring the group’s own entities, such as doing quota share deals with Syndicate 1274. 

van der Straaten emphasized that Antares will focus on profitability over premium growth. Out of a total of 17 line classes, the group has been re-underwriting 14 of them and rebalancing the portfolio. Lloyd’s “Decile 10” review, which cracked down on underperforming business, has been a help in driving up market rates, van der Straaten noted.

As part of its own review into its business, Antares Managing Agency Ltd announced in February that it would place their Lloyd’s China operation into run-off.

Antares includes the international operations of Qatar Insurance Company.

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