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Best maintains negative ratings outlook for property/casualty insurers


A.M Best Co. Inc. is maintaining its negative ratings outlook for commercial property/casualty insurers, the rating agency said in a briefing issued Monday.

That comes despite improved economic conditions and “some encouraging signs of price firming,” Oldwick, N.J.-based Best said.

As a result, Best said that while the “vast majority” of rating actions will be affirmations, negative rating actions will outnumber positive ones during this year.

Skeptical of reversal trends

Best lowered its outlook for commercial property/casualty insurers to negative from stable a year ago.

In this year's outlook, Best notes that many commercial insurers have expressed the need for higher rates and that premium growth for commercial insurers is on the upswing for the first time in five years.

But the rating agency said that while recent trends are “both encouraging and noteworthy,” it “remains skeptical that a long-term reversal in market pricing has arrived and believes insurance cycles are measured in years, not in quarters.”