Direct written premiums for auto and homeowners insurers increased in the first quarter of the year.

Among private auto insurers, direct written premiums climbed to $47.39 billion in the first quarter, a 4.18-percent increase compared to the same quarter last year, according to a recent SNL Financial report and ranking. Rates have been rising consistently across the industry for the past two years, the report said, and Q1 was the best first-quarter rate since 2004.

“The sluggish post-recession period gave way to artificially low interest rates that weighed on investment returns and forced insurers to generate better underwriting profits,” SNL said in the report. “Mid- to high-single-digit percentage hikes became the norm, with some seeking even greater increases early on. That activity is only now showing signs of slowing, just as companies' higher-priced policies are juicing their top-line results.”

Homeowners insurance writers also experienced higher growth in direct written premiums compared to the same quarter last year, and loss ratios decreased to 43.05 percent; the loss ratio was 50.91 percent in Q1 2012, according to the report.

In Q1 2013, total direct premiums written for the homeowners insurance industry was $17.242.5 billion, a 6.80-percent increase over the $16.144.1 billion total for the same quarter last year, SNL said.


Q1 2013 Top 10 Private Auto Insurers by DWP (millions)

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. - $8,427.3 

GEICO Corp. - $4,718.8 

Allstate Corp. - $4,533.3 

Progressive - $3,906.5 

Farmers Insurance Group of Co. - $2,590.0 

USAA Insurance Group - $2,341.8 

Liberty Mutual - $2,255.9  

Nationwide Mutual Group - $1,939.8 

Travelers Cos. Inc. - $ 920.2 


Q1 2013 Top 10 Homeowners Insurers by DWP (millions)

State Farm Mutual - $3,628.2 

Allstate Corp. - $1,547.4 

Farmers Insurance Group - $1,181.5 

Liberty Mutual - $1,106.0 

USAA Insurance Group - $ 855.2 

Travelers Companies Inc. - $ 716.1 

Nationwide Mutual Group - $ 640.4 

Chubb Corp. - $ 420.5 

American Family - $ 327.6 

Hartford Financial Services - $ 248.3 


SNL Financial rankings are based on NAIC filings, the company said.


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