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The U.S. property/casualty insurance industry’s asbestos and environmental loss payments continue to outpace incurred losses, A.M. Best Co. said in a report issued Thursday.
Oldwick, New Jersey, based-A.M. Best said in its report that A&E loss reserves have declined over the past 10-plus years, and over the past five years, the industry has paid out $16.1 billion for A&E claims while incurring $11.3 billion in losses.
Its estimates for asbestos and environmental losses for the industry remain unchanged at $100 billion and $46 billion, respectively, as of year-end 2019, according to the report, AM Best’s A&E Loss Estimates Remain Unchanged.
The report said the industry has funded about 91% of its aggregate A&E exposures, which translates into an unfunded liability of about $9 billion for asbestos and $4 billion for environmental, although these are “relatively small amounts” when compared to cumulative losses of more than $91 billion for asbestos and $42 billion for environmental.
Incurred losses for asbestos were down about 13% the past five years, while environmental losses have fluctuated within a narrow range during that period, ending 2019 with an increase of more than 10%, the report said.
Travelers Cos. Inc. reported a $295 million increase to its asbestos reserves Tuesday.
U.S.-based ratings agency A.M. Best Co. said that the global reinsurance operating environment remains "less than optimal" for traditional reinsurers, Artemis reports. The rating agency believes that the market remains incredibly competitive and that major reinsurers continue to utilize reserve releases to remain profitable.