Triple-I Report Finds Insurers Are Managing Economic Volatility

For immediate releaseNew York Press Office: Michael Barry, 917-923-8245, michaelb@iii.org

 

NEW YORK, Nov. 22, 2021—U.S. insurers are seeing premium and investment income growth in 2021, favorable trends offset by increases in inflation and the combined ratio, according to a new report from the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I).“The insurance industry is expected to grow in 2021 yet underperforms overall U.S. 2021 growth,” stated the report’s author, Michel Léonard, PhD, CBE, vice president, senior economist and data scientist, and the Head of the Economics and Analytics Department, Triple-I. “In 2021, the insurance industry's performance is constrained by its ties to industries with growth rates significantly below and inflation rates significantly above the U.S. rates overall."  The U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to grow by 5.8 percent this year whereas the insurance industry’s rate of growth will be between 3.2 and 3.4 percent, the Triple-I estimates.The Triple-I members-only Q4 Insurance Economic Outlook report, Soft Landing, Headwinds, and Rebound, is the subject of an online, taped 15-minute interview. In the video, Paul Carroll, a former Wall Street Journal editor and reporter who is now the editor-in-chief of Insurance Thought Leadership (ITL), discusses with Léonard how the U.S. and global insurance industries are faring nearly two years into the pandemic.  Both the Triple-I and ITL are affiliates of The Institutes.“Inflation is ending the year at about four percent,” Léonard stated, while noting the U.S. inflation rate is much higher for items impacting insurers, such as autos, auto replacement parts, and construction materials like lumber. The other headwind insurers face includes a projected year-end combined ratio of 101. This means U.S. auto, home, and business insurers will likely spend $1.01 this year on claims and expenses for every $1 collected in premiums, according to the Triple-I report.U.S. insurer premium growth is, however, outperforming the world’s largest insurance markets, with the Triple-I’s report envisioning a 7.7 percent increase this year in U.S. net premiums written as compared to 2020. Investment income, another major source of U.S. insurer revenue, will be largely responsible for a 6.5 percent year-over-year increase in the policyholders’ surplus. The surplus—the amount of money remaining after the U.S. insurance industry’s cumulative liabilities are subtracted from its assets—is expected to approach $990 billion at year-end 2021, the Triple-I’s report projects. The supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and inflationary pressures which emerged in 2021 have prompted widespread disagreement among economists who make forecasts, Léonard told Carroll.“I’ve never seen a situation, and neither have most of my colleagues, where credible economists that traditionally look at the world in the same way are so spread apart in terms of their forecasts,” Léonard said.


The Triple-I has a full library of educational videos on its YouTube Channel. Information about Triple-I mobile apps can be found here.

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