P/C Insurers’ Profitability Grew Nearly $5B in First Quarter 2015

Private U.S. property/casualty insurers’ net income after taxes grew to $18.2 billion in first-quarter 2015 from $13.9 billion in first-quarter 2014, with insurers’ overall profitability as measured by their rate of return on average policyholders’ surplus growing to 10.8 percent from 8.4 percent, according to ISO, a Verisk Analytics business, and te Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).

Insurers’ combined ratio improved to 95.7 percent in first-quarter 2015 from 97.1 percent in first-quarter 2014. Net written premium growth remained unchanged at 3.7 percent for the first quarters of 2014 and 2015. Net investment income increased to $11.7 billion in the first quarter of 2015 from $11.2 billion a year earlier, and realized capital gains jumped to $4.7 billion from $2.9 billion, resulting in $16.4 billion in net investment gains for first-quarter 2015.

“Property/casualty insurers had a strong first quarter, underscoring strong capital levels, competitive markets, underwriting disciplines, and business competencies,” said Robert Gordon, PCI’s senior vice president for policy development and research. “These results, partially attributable to mild catastrophic losses, have insurers well positioned to continue to provide the necessary financial security for their policyholders as we move farther into yet another uncertain hurricane season.”

“The industry needs to focus on underwriting, as investment gains may be unpredictable and investment yields will likely remain suppressed for a while,” said Beth Fitzgerald, president of ISO Insurance Programs and Analytic Services. “It’s those insurers that stay current on emerging issues and make use of predictive analytics that will be the best prepared to weather potential storms that the markets, social or technological developments, or nature might send their way.”

Source: ISO, Verisk Analytics Inc.