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Best's Briefing: U.S. Personal Lines Insurance Outlook Remains Stable Despite Impact of Catastrophe Losses
[January 05, 2018]

Best's Briefing: U.S. Personal Lines Insurance Outlook Remains Stable Despite Impact of Catastrophe Losses

A.M. Best is maintaining a stable outlook on the personal lines segment of the U.S. property/casualty industry for 2018, citing that personal lines companies have sustained robust risk-adjusted capital positions and have responded to a variety of external pressures, including the barrage of catastrophic activity, with ongoing price adequacy initiatives, prudent risk transfer through reinsurance and risk management advancements.

The Best's Briefing, titled, "Market Segment Outlook: Personal Lines," states that the impact of catastrophes in 2017 was felt in the segment's two main lines of business: auto and homeowner's insurance. Since the auto line accounts for the majority of premium in the personal lines segment, its results have a meaningful impact on the segment's overall financial results. The briefing also notes that deterioration in the auto line had begun prior to 2017, driven by increased loss severity and frequency. As a result of profitability pressures in the personal auto segment, some smaller companies, particularly those in the independent agency channel, have shifted their focus to the small commercial property segment, in search of growth opportunities. The shift has not led to any significant merger and acquisitions, but the potential remains as carriers look for scale and diversification.

The performance of the property lines in recent years has helped to offset deterioration in the auto lines, but the 2017 weather events likely will end that trend. However, improved technological resources and pricing, as well as favorable reinsurance market conditions have benefited the segment.

A.M. Best recognizes that despite the stable market segment outlook, there are clear market trends that personal lines companies must address effectively. Over the long term, competitiveness will remain heightened as the development of autonomous vehicles, usage-based insurance, ride-sharing and population shifts pressure premium growth. The stable outlook reflects A.M. Best's expectation that the personal lines companies can effectively navigate their way through these challenges and market dynamics.

To access the full copy of this briefing, please visit

A video interview with Greg Williams, senior director, about the personal lines segment also is available.

A.M. Best is the world's oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit

Copyright © 2018 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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