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The commercial auto insurance segment recorded its first underwriting loss in eight years in 2011 due to a combination of declining premiums, increasing claims severity and a reduction in favorable prior-year reserve releases, a new report states. 

In its Commercial Auto Market Update, Fitch Ratings says the commercial-auto line posted a combined ratio of 103.6 in 2011. Fitch says that, on an accident-year basis and examining only liability for commercial auto, the underwriting losses occurred earlier, beginning in 2009. “The 2011 accident year combined ratio is more than 14 points worse than the cyclical best of 90 achieved in 2004 and 2005,” Fitch says of the liability-only data.

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