Canadian Underwriter

Co-operators first-quarter loss doubles

May 23, 2003   by Canadian Underwriter

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Co-operators General Insurance Company (TSX: CCS.PR.A) saw its after-tax net loss more than double in the first quarter ending March 31, 2003 to $5.9 million, after a loss of $2.2 million in the first quarter 2002. On a per-share basis, the loss is $0.36 versus $0.18 in the first quarter last year.
This came despite rising premiums that resulted in gross written premiums of $378 million, up 12.4% over the $336 million GWP reported for the first three months last year. Similarly, earned premiums were up to $361 million from $331 million a year prior.
The claims ratio was up slightly to 82.4% from 82.0% over the same comparative period, but the expense ratio was down slightly. However, the company still posted an underwriting loss, with the combined ratio staying at a constant 112.5%.
On the investment side, net gains were up slightly to $8.9 million for the quarter, from $7.4 million last year, notes senior vice president and CFO Kevin Daniel. Overall investment income remained relatively the same because of declining yields, he adds.
“We expected the first quarter of 2003 to produce similar results to those experienced in the first quarter of 2002,” says Co-operators president and CEO Kathy Bardswick. “The more severe winter did have a slightly more negative impact in some areas than anticipated but the increasing severity of personal injury claims were just as we expected.” Nonetheless, the company says it is still in good shape to return to profitability in the second quarter of 2003 as rate increase begin to outpace claims growth.

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