Although experts say the industry should see a leveling out of combined ratio increases by mid to late 2009, the sting of what occurred in 2008 is being felt industry-wide. The 10-point increase in the property/casualty industry’s combined ratio for 2008 seems yet another indicator of the trickle-down effect of the current economic downslide.

According to an A.M. Best Co. statistical study, the total industry registered a 104.7 combined ratio in 2008, compared with 95.1 in 2007. The combined ratio for the top 25 writers based on net premiums written rose to 102.3 in 2008 from a profitable 94.5 the prior year.

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