Filed Under:Markets, Commercial Lines

P&C insurers' profits up for first nine months of 2015

P&C insurers in the U.S. had a combined profit of $44 billion for the nine-month period and $13.1 for the third quarter. (Photo: iStock)
P&C insurers in the U.S. had a combined profit of $44 billion for the nine-month period and $13.1 for the third quarter. (Photo: iStock)

Private U.S. property and casualty insurers’ net income after taxes grew to $44 billion in the first nine months of 2015, from $37.8 billion in the same period in 2014, with insurers’ overall profitability as measured by their rate of return on average policyholders’ surplus growing to 8.8% from 7.6%, according to a report from Jersey City, N.J.-based ISO and Chicago-based Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).

Insurers’ combined ratio improved to 96.9% for the first nine months of 2015 from 97.7% in the same period of 2014. Net written premium growth increased to 4.1% for the first nine months of 2015 from 4% for same period in 2014. Net investment income increased to $34.8 billion for the period from $34.5 billion a year earlier, and realized capital gains increased slightly to $8.9 billion from $8.8 billion, resulting in $43.7 billion in net investment gains for the first nine months of 2015.

Related: P&C industry shows improved underwriting, higher net income during first half of 2015

“Insurers overall had another strong quarter. Surplus and premium to surplus continue to hover near historic levels, underscoring insurers’ rock-solid financial foundation and ability to serve consumers,” said Robert Gordon, PCI’s senior vice president for policy development and research. “However, premium growth continues to be sluggish for commercial lines. Additionally, some industry statistics we’re monitoring indicate that the combined ratio for personal auto insurance has worsened, driven by increases in both accident severity and frequency.”

“In the first three quarters of 2015, insurers continued to face a difficult investment environment. Their annualized investment yield was just 3.1%, significantly below long-term averages, and that is unlikely to improve in the immediate future,” said Beth Fitzgerald, president of ISO Solutions. “To succeed today, it’s critical that insurers have the analytics and information they need to make the best possible underwriting decisions.”

P&C insurers net income

Third-quarter results

    • The property and casualty insurance industry’s consolidated net income after taxes rose to $13.1 billion in the third quarter of 2015, up from $11.8 billion in third quarter of 2014.
    • Property and casualty insurers’ annualized rate of return on average surplus increased to 7.8% in the third quarter from 7% a year earlier.
    • Net written premiums rose $5.3 billion, or 4.1%, to $136 billion in quarter from $130.7 billion in the same quarter of 2014. The industry’s combined ratio worsened to 95.7% in the third quarter from 95.5% in the third quarter 2014.

View the full report from ISO and PCI.

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