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Surety market returning to capacity: Study


The U.S. surety insurance market has fully recovered from its slump earlier this decade, and capacity is returning to the market, according to a study by Hartford, Conn.-based Conning Research & Consulting Inc.

Along with new capacity, though, is "a renewed appreciation for underwriting discipline," said Stephan Christiansen, director of research.

Beginning in 2001, burgeoning losses drove the surety market's combined ratio up more than 37 points to 124.1%, where it remained at nearly that level for about three years. An economic recession and tightening credit mainly drove the losses, but claims mitigation efforts also fell off during that period, Mr. Christiansen noted.

The market began turning around in 2004, according to the study. Along with the market's new underwriting discipline, its attention to automation and technology to control costs "lead us to a positive forecast for the surety line over the next few years, with premium growing at least as fast as (gross domestic product)," Mr. Christiansen said.

The study, "The Surety Market: Taking Care of Business," is available for $1,750 by contacting Conning by phone at 888-707-1177 or by visiting its Web site at