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U.S. broker industry stable with modest growth prospects: Fitch


The 2011 outlook for the U.S. insurance brokerage industry remains “stable,” according to an analysis issued Thursday by New York-based Fitch Ratings Inc.

“Prospects for revenue and earnings growth for U.S. insurance brokers in 2012 will likely match or exceed levels reported for the first nine months of 2011, Fitch said in its “2012 Outlook: U.S. Insurance Broker Industry.” But, it added, “competitive fundamentals” of the property/casualty insurance market and the slow pace of global economic recovery continue to pose challenges.

Fitch said improved pricing will help commission-based revenues over the next 12 months. The rating agency warned, however, that it expects broker revenue growth to be “modest” due to a flat rate environment in the broader property/casualty marketplace.

It also said “nonorganic growth will be constrained by a shrinking supply of acquisition targets of a size that would significantly augment the acquirers’ total revenue stream.”

Fitch said the position in the property/casualty insurance market underwriting cycle and the weak pace of economic recovery has led Fitch to adopt the view that a “near-term shift to a positive industry rating outlook as unlikely.”

Early this year, Fitch predicted that broker revenue growth would be “modest” in 2011.