Although operating earnings for a group of 31 property/casualty commercial insurers analyzed by Fitch Ratings decreased more than 7 percent in 2015, some of the smallest—a group of five regional insurers—reported higher operating earnings last year.

The analysis titled, “North American P/C Insurers’ 2015 GAAP Financial Results,” shows that while operating income fell nearly 9 percent for 13 diversified commercial insurers in the aggregate, the regionals saw operating income soar over 21 percent in total.

FITCH 2015 GAAP Operating ROEs Regional Highlight

That made regionals the most improved commercial sector—and in fact, the most improved sector of any analyzed in the Fitch report, which also included results for 13 specialty commercial insurers, six personal lines writers and eight reinsurers.

Four of the five regionals analyzed by Fitch reported higher operating income in 2015 than in 2014. The only exception was State Auto Financial Corporation, which was also the on was the only one of the five to report adverse prior-year loss reserve development.

The regional sector also had the biggest jump in net earned premiums among the five sectors analyzed by Fitch, with the regional sector’s 5 percent growth eclipsing a 3.6 percent jump for specialty commercial writers and just 1.2 percent for the diversified players. Both State Auto and United Fire Group had double-digit premium growth in 2015, according to the Fitch report.

All five of the regionals reported improved accident year and calendar year combined ratios last year, although State Auto’s remained above breakeven on an accident-year basis.

Underwriting result highlights by sector are summarized below.

The full Fitch report, “North American P/C Insurers’ 2015 GAAP Financial Results,” was published earlier this month and is available at under the following headers: Sectors >> Financial Institutions >> Insurance >> Research

For a report on Fitch’s analysis of the specialty commercial results, see related Carrier Management article, “North American Specialty Insurer Operating Earnings Soared in 2015: Fitch.”

Topics Carriers Property Casualty