Fitch Says UK Non-Life Insurers are ‘Well-Positioned in Challenging Market’

December 21, 2007

Fitch Ratings has issued a report indicating that it is maintaining a stable outlook on the UK non-life insurance sector, “as insurers remain on the path of underwriting discipline in the face of more challenging market conditions.”

Fitch’s report notes that the UK’s “insurers have defied expectations through 2006 and into 2007 with strong results against a background of softening rates and intense competition. This has signaled hopes that some of the lessons of previous soft cycles may have been learned, although it remains imperative for insurers to continue to retain their discipline at all stages of the underwriting cycle.”

David Stephenson, Associate Director in Fitch’s Insurance Group, commented: “Insurers have demonstrated effective capital management to put them in a position of strength at this point of the cycle. The natural catastrophe activity during 2007 has been a sobering reminder of the need to maintain prudence in pricing and reserving. However, we expect that a majority of insurers should be able to demonstrate better results than in previous soft market cycles.”

Fitch also noted that, although the “soft rating environment” prevails across most of the non-life market, “some rate hardening has been observed in some business lines during 2007 and this augurs well for prospects of market profitability for the full financial year.

“Improvements in risk management and catastrophe modeling are also expected to contribute positively, although insurers continue to face the pressures of an evolving distribution landscape and claims inflation that is outpacing premium rate increases in various classes of business.”

The report, entitled “UK Non-Life Insurance: The Only Way is Up”, is available on Fitch’s web site at:

Source: Fitch

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