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BestWeek: Surplus Lines Endure Third Straight Premium Drop

Posted on 28 Sep 2010

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Direct premiums written collected by surplus lines companies fell for the third consecutive year in 2009 as a soft market and sluggish economy drove financials toward that recent trend, bucking a successful run that lasted two decades, according to a new A.M. Best Co. special report in this week's BestWeek.

The report, “U.S. Surplus Lines Market Review,” shows that direct premiums written fell 4.1%, a bigger drop than what was felt by the property/casualty industry overall (3.3%). The surplus market leaders produced operating profits and returns on both revenue and surplus. Nine of the top 10 U.S. groups, ranked by direct premiums, remained the same as in 2008, with only Berkshire Hathaway dropping out of the top 10 to the No. 13 position, the report said.