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2004 Property Casualty industry results

2004 was another banner year for property and casualty insurers as industry profits (investment income, underwriting, and all others) surged to $42 billion, a 28% increase over 2003 results. Industry capital and surplus increased by $55 billion, or over 11% from the previous year. And, underwriting profits were up $9 billion from 2003’s $2.9 billion loss as a result of the industry’s combined ratio (losses/claims plus administrative expenses) dropping to 98.9.
Certainly excellent results of which the industry can be justifiably proud. It is indeed a rare event for the industry as a whole to enjoy such stellar returns. That’s the good news. The bad news is these results have been a result of increased pricing over the last few years, and there are growing signs that prices are either level or declining for most lines of coverage.
As capital enters this market, and pressure grows on both stock and mutual companies to produce even better results, returns will decline as insurers compete for market share.
What does this mean for you?
If you are a risk, good days are back. If you are an insurer, maintain pricing discipline and keep your “cost of goods sold” under control by managing risk through loss prevention and medical management. Now is NOT the time to scrimp on the basics of insurance – risk selection, loss prevention, and claims management.

Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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