Johnston, R.I.-based FM Global, one of the world’s largest business property insurers, announced $774 million net income for the full-year 2012. That compares favorably to a net loss of $41.5 million during the full-year 2011 — the year when the insurer saw big losses driven by a series of large natural catastrophes around the globe.
The mutual insurer’s combined ratio for 2012 was 85.7 percent, a vast improvement over a 121 percent combined ratio reported for 2011. The company ended 2012 with $5.5 billion of consolidated gross premium in force, an increase of 8.6 percent. Additionally, policyholder surplus grew 14.9 percent to $7.9 billion. Its investment-related income for 2012 was $387.3 million, up 6.1 percent from $364.9 million recorded during 2011.
The company said its client retention rate held firm at 94 percent during 2012 while premium from new business grew by 6.5 percent in the past year. The company also noted that it created an Asia/Pacific division based in Singapore last year to help support the growth of its mutual policyholders in locations in the Asia/Pacific region.
Like many of its peers, FM Global also saw a large number of claims arising from Superstorm Sandy. In fact, FM Global said Sandy was the insurer’s single largest net aggregate natural disaster loss to date, which resulted in approximately 2,200 claims. The company said Sandy accounted for 12.3 loss ratio points in 2012.
FM Global also offered its perspective on the 2012 commercial insurance premium trends. The insurer said in its annual report that from an industry perspective, after a string of extreme worldwide natural disasters, coupled with subpar investment returns in 2011, the insurance marketplace had fully expected pricing, terms and conditions of the commercial insurance marketplace to improve in 2012.
However, the lack of significant insured natural disasters and improved equity markets in the first half of 2012 dampened those expectations. Those expectations changed once again after Superstorm Sandy, which surprised the markets with the scope and breadth of its impact. Sandy losses are causing the marketplace to revert to the environment that existed at the beginning of 2012, according to the insurer.