Non-public P&C insurance carriers are reporting continuedrate increases, with direct-written premiums increasing 3.7 percentin 2011 compared to 0.3 percent in 2010, according to a report fromSNL Financial.

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The SNL report, based on companyfilings with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners(NAIC) by non-public insurance carriers, “finds more evidence ofthe turn in the pricing cycle previously observed by thecombination of agent surveys, retail brokers and regional,commercial-lines-focused insurers.”

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SNL says its analysis was based on a review of managementdiscussions and annual-statutory statements filed withstate-insurance regulators, as well as annual reports by selectreciprocal exchanges, privately held stock companies and mutualcarriers.

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Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.generated 2011 direct-written premiums of close to $15 billion, up0.7 percent from the previous year. SNL says it was the firstyear-over-year increase in direct-written premiums since 2007—andthe carrier's largest since 2006. Nationwide says new business,customer retention and positive trends in average premiums“provided a lift.” Still, its combined ratio rose more than 9points year-over-year to 110.7.

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SNL says Farmers Insurance Group also produced 0.7 percentgrowth in direct-written premiums, including 0.2 percent growth inpersonal lines and 3.2 percent in commercial lines.

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Farmers says net-written premiums rose by more than $732 millionin 2011 to $14.86 billion. But the company's combined ratio stillrose 8.6 points to 107.9.

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The Erie Insurance Exchange and its affiliated P&C companiescontinued to grow premium and improve their competitive positioningthrough the combination of careful agency selection and increasingmarket penetration into existing territories of operation.

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SNL says group-level direct-written premiums expanded almost 6percent to more than $4 billion, Erie's fastest annual growth ratesince 2004. The carrier says it produced a combined ratio of 108,up 9 points from 2010.

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