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CNA reduces midmarket workers comp, but ups offerings for small businesses: CFO


NEW YORK—CNA Financial Corp. has been reducing its workers compensation coverage available for middle-market accounts while increasing it for small businesses, the insurer’s chief financial officer said.

“Workers comp has been quite a bit of a problem line,” CNA CFO Craig Mense told attendees of the 2012 J.P. Morgan Insurance Conference in New York on Thursday.

“We have been acting over a number of years to reduce our writings in workers comp,” Mr. Mense said. “It now accounts for about 11% of our revenue…and 23% of our revenue in commercial lines. That’s down 2 points from what it was two years ago.”

Yet CNA is growing its workers comp book of business for small companies because “the comp results are actually quite favorable.”

But for “middle-market (business), where the comp returns have been quite a bit less attractive, we have reduced our writing by over 19% over the last two years and we are getting positive rate,” Mr. Mense told the conference.

A graphic accompanying Mr. Mense’s presentation showed that CNA’s middle-market gross written premiums dropped from $412 million in 2009 to $334 million in 2011.

In its 10-K filing for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2011, Chicago-based CNA reported that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act may increase its workers comp operating costs and underwriting losses.