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Property/casualty insurers’ underwriting profit down in first half: Best

Posted On: Aug. 23, 2019 7:51 AM CST

Profit down

Net underwriting income for the U.S. property/casualty insurance industry declined 9.6% to $4.83 billion in the first half of 2019, ratings agency A.M. Best Co. Inc. said in a report issued Thursday.

Net earned premiums grew by 3.8% in the first half of 2019 as underwriting expenses and policyholder dividends were stable, but this was offset by a 5.6% increase in losses and loss adjustment expenses incurred, according to the report issued by Oldwick, New Jersey-based Best.

As a result, the combined ratio for property/casualty insurers deteriorated from the prior-year period to 97.4% from 96.4%, with catastrophe losses accounting for 4.5 points, up from an estimated 4.2 points, Best said.

A $432.7 million increase in net investment income during the first half of 2019 offset most of the underwriting decline, resulting in pretax operating income remaining unchanged at $33.10 billion, Best said in the report, First Look: Six-Month 2019 Property/Casualty Financial Results.

Due to a $1.17 billion reduction in realized capital gains, industry net income declined 2.4% to $32.69 billion from the prior-year period, Best said.

The data is derived from companies’ six-month 2019 interim statutory statements that were received as of Aug. 20, representing an estimated 97% of the total property/casualty industry’s net premiums written.