May to break another cat bond record, as biggest month of issuance ever –

Records continue to be broken in the catastrophe bond market in 2024 and it’s now clear that May is set to become the biggest single month of new catastrophe bond issuance on-record, with a chance of becoming the first time any month has surpassed $4 billion of newly issued cat bonds.

As Artemis reported last week, the catastrophe bond market has already broken the half-year issuance record in 2024.

At the same time, the outstanding market currently being above $49 billion, including the private cat bonds we track, is another significant record and a demonstration of market growth being already more than 9% higher than it was at the end of last year.

The end of 2023 saw the record for the biggest single month of catastrophe bond issuance broken, as December 2023 saw almost $3.6 billion of issuance.

Prior to that, the record for a single month of new cat bond issuance was $3.4 billion, set right back in May 2017.

But now, May 2024 catastrophe bond issuance is already at $3.59 billion, based on all new cat bonds that have settled this month so far.

Once additional cat bonds are included, that are scheduled to settle this month as well, the total will break the record and could surpass $4 billion of new cat bond issuance for the first time ever in a single month.

The chart below (available here in interactive form), shows catastrophe bond issuance by month and year and can be filtered to exclude, or include months:


May is nearly always one of the biggest months for issuance in every calendar year, with a significant focus on US wind given the timing just in advance of the mid-year reinsurance renewals.

In fact, up to December 2023, the only months where cat bond issuance exceeded $3 billion were May’s, in 2023, 2021, 2017 and almost in 2014.

Over the last decade, May’s fill the majority of a list of the busiest months for cat bond issuance.

So, it’s no surprise to see the cat bond market busy in May again in 2024, but if the $4 billion is eclipsed it signals another meaningful increase, beating the previous May record by around $600 million of issuance.

Right now, we still have $425 million of cat bonds in the market that are slated to schedule this month, so the record for a single month of cat bond issuance will certainly be broken in May 2024.

One of those issues has gone suspiciously quiet though (Ariel Re’s latest Titania deal), so could end up falling into June, or perhaps even be pulled given where pricing has moved to, so whether cat bond issuance can set a new above $4 billion landmark remains uncertain at this time.

Either way though, this May 2024 will become the largest single month of catastrophe bond issuance ever seen in the over 25 year history of this market, so that’s another notable record destined to be broken this year.

The Artemis Deal Directory lists all catastrophe bond and related transactions completed since the market was formed in the late 1990’s. The directory also lists the cat bonds waiting to settle, which are highlighted in green at the top of the list.

Analyse the catastrophe bond market using our charts and visualisations, which are kept up-to-date as every new transaction settles.

Download our free quarterly catastrophe bond market reports.

We track catastrophe bond and related ILS issuance data, the most prolific sponsors in the market, most active structuring and bookrunning banks and brokers, which risk modellers feature in cat bonds most frequently, plus much more.

Find all of our charts and data here, or via the Artemis Dashboard which provides a handy one-page view of cat bond market metrics.

All of these charts and visualisations are updated as soon as a new cat bond issuance is completed, or as older issuances mature.

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