Ratings firm A.M. Best Co. Inc. reported on Monday that commercial property/casualty insurers posted solid financial results for the first quarter of 2013, with net written premiums rising 1.2% from the first quarter of 2012 to $47.2 billion.
"The sustained growth in premium reflects ongoing recovery in the exposure base given an improving economic environment, combined with ongoing rate firming as market conditions improve," Oldwick, N.J.-based Best stated in the report, "U.S. P/C Industry Once Again Shows Profitable First-Quarter Results."
"As in recent quarters, growth in premium volume within the commercial lines segment has been driven primarily by the workers compensation line, which has reported both rate increases and an expanding payroll (exposure) base as economic conditions improve after the recession," the report stated.
The commercial lines segment also saw improved underwriting results, as its combined ratio improved to 94.3% for this year's first quarter, compared with 95.3% in the year-ago period, the report noted.
"Results in the commercial lines segment were impacted by approximately 1.5 points of natural catastrophe-related losses in the first quarter of 2013, down from approximately 2.7 points reported during the same prior-year period," the report states. "In addition to lower catastrophe losses, the improving loss and loss-adjustment expense ratio reflects the ongoing improvement in pricing."