Posted on 06 Mar 2009
The nation's top 100 property and casualty insurers closed 2008 with net income levels not seen in more than seven years, while the top 100 life insurers suffered unprecedented unrealized capital losses, according to Highline Data.
The Highline Data 2008 Top 100 Performance Monitor revealed a 67.7 percent year-over-year drop in
net income in 2008 across the industry’s top property and casualty insurers, from $48.8 billion to $15.8 billion. The last time top property and casualty insurers reported annual net income drops of this magnitude was in 2001, when losses from the September 11 attacks and multiple hurricanes occurred.
The Performance Monitor also revealed a stunning decline in unrealized capital gains/(losses) among the top 100 life insurers, from a gain in 2007 of $1.4 billion to a loss of $51.7 billion as of December 31, 2008. This precipitous year-over-year decline in the life industry was driven by sharp drops in stock values. Capital paid-in, however, held the surplus decline to 4.7%.
The 2008 Top 100 Performance Monitor was made possible by Highline Data’s unprecedented 48-hour
delivery of key financial data from the annual statutory financial statements of all of the top 100
property and casualty insurers, ranked by net premiums written, and of 98 of the top 100 life insurers, ranked by total net admitted assets (two companies received filing extensions). Highline Data was once again the first company to deliver annual insurance industry statutory financial data to the market with this year’s expedited delivery of 2008 data.
Additional results of the Performance Monitor reveal other troubling signs for the insurance industry going into 2009, including declines in surplus of 11.3% for Property and Casualty insurers and 4.7% for Life insurers. Property and Casualty companies also experienced an increase in the Combined Ratio from 94% in 2007 to 102% in 2008. Life companies reported a Return on Equity of -0.3% in 2008, which was a decline from 12.8% in 2007.
Highline Data is an affiliate of Summit Business Media, parent company of National Underwriter’s Online News Service.