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SNL Financial Analysis Shows Premium Growth but Not Underwriting Profits for P/C Industry in Second-Quarter 2010

Source: SNL Financial

Posted on 20 Aug 2010

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In an analysis of newly obtained statutory insurance data, SNL Financial finds that the U.S. property and casualty industry experienced modest growth in premiums written but deterioration in underwriting profitability in second-quarter 2010, fueled by trends among personal lines carriers.

Based on data for more than 87% of the U.S. P&C industry, direct premiums written increased 1% to $113.6 billion and net premiums written were up 0.3% to $100.6 billion from the same period in 2009. According to SNL, 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.

“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.”

Pressured by 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.