By now you’ll have read the headlines that the U.S. property/casualty (P/C) insurance industry’s $42.6 billion profit for the full year 2016 was 25 percent lower than its $56.8 billion profit for 2015.
Putting some context around the numbers is important.
I.I.I. commentary: “U.S. economic activity slowed somewhat in 2016 compared to 2015 — real GDP rose by 1.6 percent in 2016 vs. 2.6 percent in 2015—and the P/C insurance industry’s results followed suit.”
Two other key takeaways:
—Despite the challenge of ongoing low interest rates, weak domestic and global economic growth and rising claims, the industry nevertheless posted a modest 2.7 percent net written premium growth (compared to 3.5 percent in 2015).
—Overall industry capacity (policyholder surplus) rose to $700.9 billion (up 4.0 percent) as of December 31, 2016. This is a new peak for industry surplus.
As I.I.I. chief economist Dr. Steven Weisbart notes:
The industry results were released by ISO, a Verisk Analytics company, and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).