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P/C insurers' profits dip in 1Q: Best


OLDWICK, N.J.--The U.S. property/casualty insurance industry reported $16.7 billion in net income for the first quarter, down 3.3% from the comparable quarter a year ago, according to Oldwick, N.J.-based A.M. Best Co. Inc.

Insurers reported a 1.3% decline in net premiums written, to $111.8 billion, according to the Best special report.

The total U.S. property/casualty industry reported a 92.4% combined ratio for this year's first quarter, compared with 91.5% for the comparable quarter a year ago.

The commercial lines segment posted a 90.4% combined ratio, compared with a 90.9% ratio for the same period a year ago, while the reinsurance segment reported an 89.3% combined vs. 98.2% for the comparable period.

The industry's policyholder surplus increased 12.8%, to $506 billion.

"Despite a continued price softening across virtually all lines, the industry's strong underwriting results benefited from continued pricing adequacy, prudent underwriting practices and favorable prior-year loss-reserve development," says the report.

Best said it remains optimistic about the industry's near-term underwriting results despite the intensifying competition. "Assuming catastrophe losses are 'normal,' A.M. Best still believes the U.S. property/casualty industry is well positioned for favorable underwriting results at year-end 2007," the report says.