P/C Insurance Industry’s Net Underwriting Income Up 24% in Q1, Reports A.M. Best

June 3, 2019

The U.S. property/casualty industry posted net underwriting income of $4.2 billion in first-quarter 2019, a 24.0% increase from the same period in the previous year, according to preliminary financial results.

According to Best’s Special Report, “First Look–3 Month Property/Casualty Financial Results,” although statutory income improved, the combined ratio for the P/C industry deteriorated 1.3 points from the prior-year period to 96.5, with increases in the loss and loss-adjustment expense (LAE) ratio and the underwriting expense ratio (based on net premiums written, which fell by 2.3% compared with the prior-year period).

A.M. Best also estimates that catastrophe losses accounted for 3.0 points on the three-month 2019 combined ratio, down from an estimated 3.4 points in the prior-year period.

A $1.4 billion increase in net investment income during the first three months of 2019, coupled with the underwriting income increase boosted pre-tax operating income by 16.2% to $17.8 billion. Due to a $2 billion reduction in realized capital gains and incurred income taxes remaining flat, the industry’s net income of $16.9 billion was a modest $400 million increase from the prior-year period.

This data used by A.M. Best is derived from companies’ three-month 2019 interim statutory statements that were received as of May 17, 2019, representing an estimated 92% of the total P/C industry’s net premiums written.

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