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Workers compensation line of business sees 10% growth in premium volume

Workers compensation line of business sees 10% growth in premium volume

The workers compensation line of business stabilized, along with U.S. employment and payrolls, during 2011, showing 10% growth in premium volume during the year, Oldwick, N.J.-based A.M. Best Co. reported Monday.

The 10% premium growth during 2011 outpaced other commercial insurance lines, which reported 4% growth in net premiums written, according to the report titled “Despite Favorable Pricing Trends, Profitability Challenges Persist.”

Positive growth in workers comp premiums came after five years of declines.

“From 2006 through 2010, when a combination of competitive pricing, a series of consecutive rate increases (often related to statutory reforms), poor employment and challenging macroeconomic conditions put significant pressure on the sector,” A.M. Best said in a statement.

Despite the 10% growth in 2011, workers comp premium volume was still 23% below its peak of $49.2 billion in 2005, A.M. Best reported.

Going forward, A.M. Best said it expects workers comp profitability will remain challenged due to an increasingly competitive operating environment and the cumulative effect of rate increases.

A.M. Best also found that “the largest workers' comp insurers remained unchanged for a third straight year, with Liberty Mutual Insurance Cos. retaining its top market position, followed by American International Group.”

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