Fast Market Research recommends "United States Insurance Report Q1 2014" from Business Monitor International, now available
Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/31/2013 -- H113 was, for most insurers, a constructive period in spite of the patchy performance of the economy and occasional volatility in financial markets. Property/casualty companies (ie the majority of the non-life segment as BMI defines it) benefited from firmer rates and substantially lower claims losses relative to the previous year. In a sign of confidence, major life companies have been buying back stock.
Key Insights On The US Insurance Sector
The United States Insurance Report considers the prospects for both life and non-life (property & casualty and health) insurers. As of mid-2013, the newsflow continues to highlight the strength of both major segments - in face of substantial challenges.
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In spite of a patchy economy and an interest rate environment that reduces demand for (and/or profits from) particular products, most leading life insurance companies are reporting higher sales volumes (and/or prices) for their offerings - with fixed annuities being the main exception. The implication is that the industry continues to enjoy the trust and support of households and businesses at a time that the numbers of people who are at or near retirement age is growing. Several of the leading life insurance companies (and non-life companies) have been buying back stock. Prudential Financial's agreement to buy the individual life operations of The Hartford, in a deal which closed in early 2013, is another landmark. Most of the leading life companies have benefited from strong growth in demand for at least some of their insurance and/or wealth management offerings. As ever, it is easy to find examples of innovation in terms of product development and/or distribution.
The property/casualty insurers, which are the main element of the non-life segment as BMI defines it, have prospered. Returns on policyholders' surplus surged sharply in H113. This was partly due to higher underwriting profits for most lines. Catastrophe-related losses are down relative to those of the previous corresponding period. In most cases, insurers have maintained good control of claims and other costs. Prices have firmed. However, the abundance of capital available to the non-life insurers means that prices have not risen as quickly as might have been expected given the scale of losses arising from Hurricane Sandy in late 2012 and from the various enormous disasters of 2011.
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