TRENDS: Underwriting losses rise in early 2011

Private U.S. property/casualty insurers’ net losses on underwriting grew to $4.5 billion in first-quarter 2011 from $1.8 billion in first-quarter 2010. The combined ratio, a key measure of losses and other underwriting expenses per dollar of premium, deteriorated to 103.3 percent in first-quarter 2011 from 101.1 percent in first-quarter 2010.
Partially offsetting the deterioration in underwriting results, net investment gains grew $1 billion to $13.5 billion in first-quarter 2011 from $12.6 billion in first-quarter 2010.
The industry’s net income after taxes dropped to $7.8 billion in first-quarter 2011 from $8.9 billion in first-quarter 2010, according to ISO and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
The figures are consolidated estimates for all private property/casualty insurers based on reports accounting for at least 96 percent of all business written by private U.S. property/casualty insurers.