With 2012 preliminary results now showing the effects of sustained improvement in profitability, Conning forecasts continued strong net premium growth and a substantially improved combined ratio for 2013. The forecast improvement is based on sustained pricing increases and an expectation of a normal level of catastrophe losses, according to the most recent edition of Conning's Property-Casualty Forecast & Analysis.
"Stronger preliminary results for 2012 despite Superstorm Sandy -- a 6 percent return on equity and a 103 percent combined ratio-reinforce that the effect of price increases and improved underwriting are taking hold throughout the industry, " said Steven Webersen, managing director at Conning. "Conning's 2013 property-casualty forecast is for net premium growth to accelerate at a 4.6 percent rate over prior year based on continued rate increases.For 2013 we forecast an improved combined ratio of 101 percent, assuming a normal level of catastrophe losses. However, low investment yields continue to work against the industry's efforts to return to a reasonable return on equity, and maintain the pressure on underwriting and pricing to sustain profitability."
The quarterly service, "Property-Casualty Forecast & Analysis by Line of Insurance" forecasts industry and line of business growth and performance for 2013-2015. The comprehensive forecast and report is redeveloped quarterly by Conning using its proprietary property-casualty industry model and analysis of key industry drivers and data.
"Looking further out, we forecast property-casualty premium growth of 4.8 percent in 2014 and 4.9 percent in 2015," said Stephan Christiansen, managing director at Conning. "We expect sustained rate increases to improve underwriting results to near breakeven by 2014. However, weak economic conditions and a record level of capital in the industry will inhibit further improvements in industry premium growth and pricing necessary to achieve underwriting profitability and a reasonable return on equity."
Conning's "Property-Casualty Forecast & Analysis" is available by subscription from Conning by calling (888) 707-1177 or by visiting the company's web site at www.conningresearch.com.