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TMCNet:  BestWeek: AM Best: 2012 US P/C Results Faring Fine Until Hurricane Sandy Socked East Coast

[February 11, 2013]

BestWeek: AM Best: 2012 US P/C Results Faring Fine Until Hurricane Sandy Socked East Coast

OLDWICK, N.J. --(Business Wire)--

Despite interest rate hurdles, the U.S. property/casualty industry was enjoying a steadily firming rate environment and lower level of weather-related losses in 2012 until Hurricane Sandy, according to a special report in the latest issue of BestWeek U.S./Canada. On Oct. 29 the East Coast was hit by what is likely to become the second-costliest U.S. natural disaster.

The impact has been apparent on income statements throughout the industry, with its underwriting loss increasing $26 billion and net income deteriorating $10 billion during the fourth quarter, based on A.M. Best's estimates of full-year 2012 results. However, the P/C industry remains strongly capitalized, and it was able to easily demonstrate that strength by absorbing the losses from Sandy. Still, new challenges were created in the handling of the hurricane deductible and what it means for the future, BestWeek reports.

--BestWeek Europe and BestWeek U.S./ Canada feature an A.M. Best special report on the Eurpean captive industry, which has weathered the global economic downturn well. However, the forthcoming implementation of Solvency II remains among the biggest challenges for the sector.

--BestWeek U.S./Canada looks at how the Costa Rican insurance market is developing since opening its market four year ago. Until then, Instituto Nacional de Seguros was the only player in the market for 80 years. "As expected in a market that is opening up, there is increased price and service competition, which has created an expanded marketplace through greater awareness of insurance services," said Janet Hernandez, a senior financial analyst for A.M. Best. "Nonetheless, INS is still the dominant player by a vast majority and in our opinion will be somewhat difficult to unseat."

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