The end of 2019 is starting to look grim for Automobile Insurers, again, as they are going on for a ninth straight year of underwriting losses, according to analysts at Fitch Ratings. In fact, Fitch has also predicted that a whole decade of the underwriting of losses is expected as the close of 2020 shall also be sad times for Automobile insurers. A handpicked few companies like Progressive are managing to record underwriting profits and grow their top lines as well. Only 4 of the top 15 companies are managing to project profits.
Fitch calculated the five-year average combined ratio for each of the top 15 writers, finding that Progressive comes in at 87. Progressive also recorded nearly 39 percent growth in direct written premiums in 2018 and has more than doubled the size of its direct written premiums since 2015 (based on figures in the latest Fitch report and three prior reports).
In general, there has been increased growth in the industry of commercial automobiles. Naturally, there are an increased number of auto insurers in the market who are all fighting to even stay in the market. The aggressive pricing actions have made commercial auto the fastest-growing major segment in the U.S. commercial lines in the last five years.
Fitch’s latest report notes that the price increases helped to fuel a 12.6 percent increase in industrywide direct written premiums in 2018, and comparable information in prior reports reveals that direct premiums have increased nearly 30 percent since 2015. But persistent claims severity and adverse reserve developments are crushing the other side of the ledger.