Fitch Sees Modest Gains for Insurance
Fitch Ratings Inc. said the U.S. property and casualty (P&C) market experienced a small underwriting profit in 2018 following several consecutive years of losses, but it expects further improvement in 2019. Industry direct written premiums rose by about 5%. In 2018, U.S. P&C insurers' statutory net earnings increased by 50% from the year prior to more than $60 billion, while statutory return on surplus of 8.1% topped the market's 10-year average of 7.3%, according to the report.
The industry logged a statutory combined ratio of 99.3% in 2018, representing an improvement over the 103.9% reported in 2017, largely due to a reduction in catastrophe loss experience, Fitch said. Written premium growth is anticipated to remain favorable next year, but below 2018 levels with direct and net written premium volume both projected to rise by about 4%. Fitch forecasts the industry's underwriting results will continue to improve to a combined ratio of 98.5% for 2019.