Canadian Underwriter

“Death by a thousand CATs” hurt primary insurers last year: MSA Research

April 26, 2018   by Staff

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floods-01Last year’s weather may have seemed mild, but “in reality, it wasn’t at all benign,” according to MSA Research’s latest Quarterly Outlook Report.

In a review of the P&C industry’s overall performance in 2017, the research firm said primary insurers suffered a “death by a thousand CATs.” The industry sustained $1.4 billion in CAT losses, but because most weather events were relatively small, primary insurers bore the brunt of the losses.

In 2017, the industry had a combined ratio of 96.3, with reinsurers showing the best performance (75.7) due in large part to being insulated from the smaller CATs. Personal and multi-line writers “collectively saw their underwriting profit evaporate,” with net claims increasing over 2016 levels and acquisition costs and general expenses also going up.

MSA noted that the industry overall demonstrated a “healthy top line growth of 3.9%” in direct premiums written last year. However, that was offset by increased cessions to reinsurers, which brought net premiums written for 2017 down to slightly below the 2016 level. Net premiums earned were only slightly above the 2016 mark.

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This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.