Gebäudeversicherung Bern Issues 1st Swiss Franc Cat Bond

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Gebäudeversicherung Bern (GVB) has issued its first catastrophe bond, according to GC Securities, the sole placement agent.

The CHF70 million Kath Re is also the first cat bond to be denominated in Swiss francs. It provides coverage against natural perils in Switzerland for a period of one year.

GS Securities, a division of MMC Securities Corp., did not disclose pricing, except to say that it was “highly competitive” with traditional reinsurance.

Cat bonds transfer a specific set of risks from their sponsors (typically insurance companies) to investors. If a triggering event occurs, the sponsor can stop paying interest or even keep some or all the principal to cover losses.

To date, the bulk of securities issued have been denominate in U.S. dollars and provided coverage for damage caused by windstorms, fire and earthquakes in North America. However, there is growing demand from capital markets investors, and this has prompted insurers to seek coverage for a wider variety of risks in a broader range of markets.

A recorded $8.8 billion of catastrophe bond and other kinsd of insurance-linked securities were issuance in 2014, bringing outstandings to $25 billion, according to tracker Artemis.

“This private catastrophe bond transaction demonstrates the growing application of alternative capital to insurers, reinsurers, sovereigns and corporates globally as well as the ability for capital markets investors to provide meaningful capacity with coverage terms (including for non-modeled perils) consistent with the traditional reinsurance markets,” Cory Anger, global head of insurance-linked ecurities structuring as GC Securities, said in a press release.

Kath Re has identical coverage terms to the GVB’s traditional reinsurance program.

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