March 21, 2011

Many Insurers, Inadequate Prices

“The urgings of Wall Street, pressures from the agency force and brokers, or simply a refusal by a testosterone-driven CEO to accept shrinking volumes has led too many insurers to write business at inadequate prices. ‘The other guy is doing it so we must as well’ spells trouble in any business, but none more so than insurance.”

—Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, in his annual letter to shareholders. Berkshire Hathaway, which makes much of its money on insurance and investing insurance premiums, does not provide liability insurance for its own directors, Buffett also revealed.

Already Against the Law

“We want to emphasize that we do not support illegal immigrants or hiring illegal immigrants. … But it’s already against the law, so passing another law doesn’t make it any more against the law.”

—Roy Williams, president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, which actively opposes onerous restrictions on businesses, accused some lawmakers of trying to score political points by pushing a contentious issue like immigration. He said immigration is a problem that should be solved at the federal level. Oklahoma business groups have rallied against proposed state legislation with strict penalties for businesses that hire illegal immigrants. AP

A Hardening Market?

“I think we’re going to see continuance of deterioration of underwriting losses, fewer reserves released, continuance of low investment yields. And so, each of those three things are pointing towards a hardening market and a continuance of that.”

—Jon Wright, SNL Financial’s director of insurance. New analysis by Virginia-based SNL Financial concludes that insurance prices are rising and the prolonged soft market is ending, contrary to earlier reports from other analysts. SNL says personal lines pricing is definitely hardening and commercial lines is moving in that direction such that premium increases can be expected in the coming quarters.

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Insurance Journal West March 21, 2011
March 21, 2011
Insurance Journal West Magazine

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