A sampling of U.S. property/casualty reinsurers showed the industry is pacing slightly behind where it was last year at this time. According to a survey of reinsurers’ statutory underwriting results conducted by the Reinsurance Association of America (RAA), a group of 19 U.S. property/casualty reinsurers wrote $12.3 billion of net premiums during the six months ending June 30, 2010, a decrease from the $12.8 billion net premiums written in the first six months of 2009. 

The combined ratio for the group was 98.7%, which is a large deterioration from the 93.8% figure from the same period in 2009. RAA says the combined ratio is attributable to a 68.9% loss ratio and an expense ratio of 29.8 %. Additionally, policyholders’ surplus was $99.7 billion, down from the $101.3 billion at March 31, 2010. 

The combined ratio figure can be compared to the numbers for P&C insurers, Fitch released last week, which noted that poor underwriting results had offset any investment income improvements. According to the report, P&C insurers aggregate combined ratio was slightly better than that of their reinsurer brethren, at 97.1% for the first six months of the year. But Fitch went on to warn that underwriting margins may well shrink further if benefit or loss reserves slip, which the rating agency expects to happen.

Of those insurers listed on the RAA report, Swiss Re America Corp. had the largest number of gross written premiums, followed closely by National Indemnity Corp. However, only eight of the 19 companies listed realized net underwriting gains. Of those in the black, RAA found that National Indemnity Corp. posted the highest gain, while Everest Reinsurance Co. was noted to have the largest underwriting loss.

To see RAA’s full underwriting report, click here.

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