Brown & Brown Q4 Net Income Rises 17% as Rates Rise

Daytona Beach, Fla.-based insurance broker Brown & Brown says its fourth-quarter net income climbed by 17 percent, aided by rising rates.

The brokerage reports net income for the quarter of $43 million. Revenues were up 24 percent, or $59 million, to $303 million.

The company reports organic growth of more than 5 percent for the fourth quarter. Retail brokerage grew by close to 6 percent and wholesale brokerage was up 8 percent.

During a conference call with financial analysts today, J. Powell Brown, president and CEO of the firm, described insurance rates as generally ranging from flat to up as high as 10 percent. The extent of increase varied from region to region and was greatly dependent on the class of business.

Touching on insurance healthcare exchanges, Brown says the firm “expects to have additional exchange-based solutions for our clients by 2014” as health carriers are added to state-based platforms.

Superstorm Sandy is beginning to have an impact in Northeast rates, says Brown, noting that insurers are beginning to impose deductible changes and “flood limits that were offered are being reduced substantially in some cases.”

In the mid-Atlantic, Maryland and northward, deductibles that were at 1 and 2 percent are going up to 2 to 4 percent, while rates are up as high as 4 percent, Brown says.

In the South, carriers want increases of up to 10 percent on property, but are not getting those rates, and prices are coming in flat.

Brown says because of Superstorm Sandy, “a lot of standard carriers will have to rethink some of their strategies as it relates to traditional property in the Northeast.”

For the year, Brown & Brown’s net income rose 12 percent, or $20 million, to $184 million. Revenues were up 18 percent, or $186.5 million, to $1.2 billion.

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