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Verisk, PCI: US P&C insurers' surplus reached all-time high in '17

The U.S. property and casualty industry's surplus hit a new all-time high of $752.5 billion in 2017, up $51.7 billion from the prior year, according to a report published by Verisk Analytics Inc.'s ISO and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

The industry booked net income after taxes of $36.1 billion in 2017, the report stated, down 15.8% from the prior year, due to the impact from catastrophe losses.

Net investment income climbed to $49.0 billion from $46.6 billion, while net written premium growth jumped to 4.6% year over year.

Catastrophe losses, particularly from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in the third quarter of 2017, as well as the California wildfires in the fourth quarter, pushed up losses and loss adjustment expenses to 8.4% in 2017. This far exceeded the industry's earned premium growth of 3.3%.

For the fourth quarter of 2017, P&C insurers booked net income after taxes of $13.8 billion, an improvement from $10.9 billion in the year-ago period.

The industry's combined ratio improved to 102.5% from 104.1%, while its annualized rate of return on average surplus climbed to 7.5% from 6.3%.