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Most big P&C insurers in California posted loss ratios over 100% in 2018

A majority of the top property insurers operating in California reported loss ratios above 100% in 2018, though the market did demonstrate some improvement compared to the year-ago period.

The Golden State has experienced devastating wildfire seasons in back-to-back years. The Camp Fire, which caused billions of dollars in damage in 2018, was California's deadliest wildfire in history.

According to statutory filings, the California market booked an aggregate loss ratio for three select business lines — property lines, homeowners, and commercial multiperil and fire — of 150.9% in 2018. That represented an improvement of 21 basis points compared to 2017.

Among the top property insurers in California with aggregate direct premiums written of more than $500 million in 2018, Allstate Corp. reported the highest loss ratio at 257.1%. That was a sharp increase from the 128.3% it recorded in the state in 2017. Allstate's homeowners segment posted a loss ratio of 271.9% with losses amounting to $1.33 billion, versus premiums earned of $488.1 million last year.

Only three insurers among the 10 largest property insurance groups in the state — Auto Club Exchange Group, Liberty Mutual Holding Co. Inc. and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. — booked aggregate loss ratios of less than 100% in 2018.

California saw an increase of 5.4% in aggregate property direct premiums written at $12.61 billion in 2018, of which 66.4%, or $8.37 billion, was attributed to homeowners premiums.

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S&P Global Market Intelligence offers a variety of tools to analyze the underwriting performance of insurance companies.

Click here for a template to review annual underwriting information and market share for P&C insurance companies by lines of business. This information is also available in the U.S. Insurance Statutory Financials database in MIOffice.

Click here for an instructional webinar on how to operate the powerful P&C market share template, which allows detailed analysis by lines of business.