Triple-I/Milliman: Personal Lines Dragon Underwriting Profitability Continues

Triple-I/Milliman: Personal Lines Dragon Underwriting Profitability ContinuesBy Max Dorfman, Research Writer, Triple-I

The property and casualty insurance industry posted its second consecutive year of underwriting losses, driven primarily by personal lines, according to the latest industry underwriting projections by actuaries at Triple-I and Milliman.

The net combined ratio for 2023 was 101.6, according to Insurance Economics and Underwriting Projections: A Forward View, a Triple-I members-only webinar. Combined ratio is a standard measure of underwriting profitability, in which a result below 100 represents a profit and one above 100 represents a loss. 

The newest results are an improvement from 2022. Additionally, premium growth is expected to further improve underwriting results in 2024, with the 2024 industry net combined ratio forecast at 100.2.

Michel Léonard, PhD, CBE, Triple-I’s chief economist and data scientist, discussed how P&C replacement costs are increasing more slowly than the consumer price index (CPI).

“P&C replacement costs benefited from greater deceleration of key CPI components, such as construction material and used auto costs,” he said. “We expect this trend to continue until early 2026.”

Léonard noted that personal and commercial auto replacement costs decreased in the first four months of 2024, continuing their 2023 trend, largely due to double-digit declines in used auto prices.

“Even homeowners’ replacement cost changes – the segment subject to some of the highest replacement cost increases over the past few years – is now lower than overall CPI,” Léonard said.

Dale Porfilio, FCAS, MAAA, Triple-I’s chief insurance officer, discussed the overall P&C industry underwriting projections and premium growth.

“The overall picture from prior quarters remains the same with commercial lines performing better than personal, but to a lesser extent,” Porfilio said.

The 2023 commercial lines net combined ratio was 96.2, 1.4 points worse than the 2022 result. While still unprofitable, personal lines improved 3.2 points relative to 2022. For 2023, the personal lines expense ratio improved by almost 2 points over 2022, most dramatically in personal auto. The net written premium growth rate for personal lines surpassed commercial lines by over 7 points in 2023.

“Continued personal lines premium growth should lead to further convergence in underwriting performance in 2024,” Porfilio said.

Jason B. Kurtz, FCAS, MAAA, a principal and consulting actuary at Milliman – a global consulting and actuarial firm – said that for commercial auto, the 2023 net combined ratio of 109.2 is 3.8 points higher than 2022, and 10.3 points higher than 2021​. 

“The improved underwriting results following the COVID-19 pandemic appear to have been short-lived, as the commercial auto underwriting results have once again deteriorated and adverse prior year development has returned to pre-COVID levels,” Kurtz said.

Looking at the workers compensation line, Kurtz noted that the 2023 net combined ratio of 87.3 is nearly identical to 2022 and the second lowest in over 15 years​. 

“2023 net written premium growth rate of 1 percent is expected to increase to 2 percent in 2024 and remain at that level of growth through 2026,” Kurtz said. “Favorable underwriting results are expected for our forecast horizon​, which in turn will dampen premium growth going forward.”

Donna Glenn, FCAS, MAAA, chief actuary at the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), said the workers comp system is in a period of extraordinary performance. 

“WC leads the P&C industry with the lowest combined ratio compared to all other lines of business,” Glenn said. 

Further highlighting the strong results, she said, 2023 is the tenth straight year of underwriting gains and seventh consecutive year with combined ratios under 90.

By Max Dorfman, Research Writer, Triple-I The property and casualty insurance industry posted its second consecutive year of underwriting losses, driven primarily by personal lines, according to the latest industry underwriting projections by actuaries at Triple-I and Milliman. The net combined ratio for 2023 was 101.6, according to Insurance Economics and Underwriting Projections: A Forward View, … Continue reading Triple-I/Milliman: Personal Lines Dragon Underwriting Profitability Continues

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