As 2023 draws to a close, Insurance Investor showcases the most read articles we published this year.
The articles cover a variety of themes and topics from ESG to solvency, capitalisation, regulations, and fixed income.
With most of our audience coming from the UK and US it's unsurprising that articles focused on those markets dominated the list. Many were forward-looking or gave practical advice on how to achieve better portfolio management or investment strategy advice.
From interviews with CEOs, to submitted pieces on complicated financial topics, through to recaps of our industry-leading events and webinars, through to news and original analysis they reflect our varied output.
Read below to see what captured your interest this year.
Kicking off our list, A highlight of our inaugural Insurance Investor Midwest event this summer saw Gregg Lutz, Investment Strategist, American Equity Life, speak with Stephanie Thomes, Senior Investment Consultant, Insurance Practice, Mercer, about how the company had revamped their procedures to offer more synergy between departments and deliver more value.
The UK’s proposed changes to its financial services post-Brexit has been an ongoing area of interest since the country left the EU.
In May, reporter Maya Sibul explored how Solvency II capital changes likely going into effect saw investors gearing up for new private-public partnerships, green projects, and attention to social infrastructure.
After several years in the investment wilderness, Insurance Linked Securities (ILS) had a moment in 2023 with the market conditions making it an area for investors to watch out for.
We conducted a webinar in the earlier part of the year, which was followed by a report and in June we summarised Jitzes Noorman, Senior Delegated CIO & Investment Strategist, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, how the issues around changing weather patterns can cause problems for ILS and investments.
Going back all the way to December 2022, this article had staying power with its interesting view of financial matters.
Enrico Conti, Finance Specialist, Reale Mutua, who has written for Insurance Investor several times, explains the duration gap for insurers, especially within the current era of increasing interest rates.
In July, reporter Maya Sibul covered the opening panel debate at our Midwest event. Featuring Chief Investment Officers from RLI Corporation, United Fire Group, and IMPACT Community Capital, the group discussed market uncertainty, inflation, and the impact of the US Federal Reserve's tightening policy.
The panel’s central questions were ‘What can Chief Investment Officers expect for the remainder of 2023?’ and ‘How are they navigating the current market environment?’ To the former, all three panellists noted that their biggest concern was a prolonged period of inflation, with a potential recession “perpetually six-to-nine months away”.
Read more to see what predictions of the participants came true.
In July this year, we covered the Morningstar Investment Conference UK, where Iain Stealey, International CIO, Global Fixed Income, JP Morgan Asset Management, said that a turbulent macroeconomic environment plagued by tightening monetary policy throughout the West means that diversification is key when it comes to fixed income allocation.
Stealey’s key theme? Diversification, diversification, diversification.
A late entrant to the list from November, this article covered what investment teams at insurance companies need to look into in new areas while revitalising other areas that were previously dismissed.
Ricky Varaden, PhD, Senior Investment Manager, Legal & General Capital, and Angel Kansagra, Head of ALM, Lloyd’s spoke at a Clear Path Analysis webinar among other senior industry figures in conjunction with Aegon Asset Management.
Their remarks have been published as part of a report: “Avoiding the crowds: Unearthing capital efficient fixed income opportunities for insurers”.
Like many others, from July, when Mary O’Connor, CEO of Howden CAP, gave a two-parter interview covering trends in long-term capital risk that insurers are seeing in the current uncertain market – as well as some unexpected areas for development.
“There’s an enormous amount of insurance capital is locked up, which could be beneficial to society,” said O’Connor. “We need investment in affordable housing, social housing, build-to-rent housing, green infrastructure, and general infrastructure support in the UK and elsewhere.”
In May, we spoke with Mark Saunders, Director of Risk Solutions, Conning, who explained the current uses of Strategic Asset Allocation and the future of the tool for insurers.
He gave his thoughts on machine learning, market prevalence, solvency metrics and more.
“In reality, companies are not just concerned with the average expected return of their portfolios,” he said. “They also care about aspects such as liquidity, earnings, return on capital, downside risk –how much the portfolio might lose in a market crash – and the outlook for future solvency levels.”
And in first place...the saga over spring this year was all about Europe’s largest re/insurers leaving the Net Zero Insurers Alliance (NZIA) due to challenges around accomplishing concrete action and working with large entities – alongside other concerns.
It also morphed into a culture war battle point with anti-ESG US politicians lauding the departures as a result of their efforts.
The saga came to a head with UNEP FI stipulating the group’s framework would now become voluntary, which saw it chastised by environmental financial groups.
With COP28 renewing efforts around net zero and the UK regulator announcing its sustainability regulation it’s unlikely we’ll have heard the last of the battle in the industry so maybe we’ll see a similar article at the top of the charts in 2024.