P/C Industry Shows Slight Premium Growth in Q2, But No Gain in Profits

August 19, 2010

The U.S. property and casualty industry experienced modest growth in premiums written but overall the industry saw deterioration in underwriting profitability in second-quarter 2010, fueled by trends among personal lines carriers.

That’s according to an analysis of newly obtained statutory insurance data by SNL Financial based on data for more than 87 percent of the U.S. P/C industry. According to SNL, direct premiums written increased just 1 percent to $113.6 billion and net premiums written were up 0.3 percent to $100.6 billion from the same period in 2009.

The growth in premiums is a positive development, given that direct premiums written had previously declined on a year-over-year basis for six consecutive quarters and net premiums written had declined for eight straight quarters, SNL says in the report.

“Second-quarter premium growth is still very much just a personal lines story,” said Jon Wright, director of insurance at SNL. “Most commercial lines of business continue to decline although workers’ compensation is showing signs of life after five straight years of declines.”

In part due to natural catastrophes, the P/C industry generated an underwriting loss of $2.7 billion in the second quarter. As a result, some of the personal lines carriers that produced the most significant increases in premiums written during the quarter also absorbed the largest underwriting losses.

Source: SNL Financial

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