Conning Research: Property-Casualty Insurers’ Loss Reserves Hit Turning Point As Deficiencies Decrease

(Hartford, CT) December 16, 2003 – Three years of rising property-casualty rates have finally had a favorable impact on loss reserves, substantially reducing estimated deficiency, according to the latest annual study on the subject by Conning Research & Consulting.

The study, “Property-Casualty Loss Reserves: Strengthening Numbers,” finds that a significant number of reserve additions were recorded by the industry in 2002 to address both under-reserving and continued development associated with environmental and asbestos claims. However, Conning’s study also reports that deficiencies still exist in the industry.

“In many ways, 2002 appeared to mark a turning point in reserve adequacy,” said Michael Weinstein, Director of Research of Conning Research & Consulting. “The addition of $17 billion in total reserves and the industry’s refocus on underwriting, loss control, and claims management of loss exposures have reduced the prior-year estimated deficiency. Accident years 1997-2001 still appear to be deficient, but accident year 2002 carried reserves may be adequate.”

Despite the improvement in the industry’s reserve position, the study notes that at current levels, there is still much work to be done. Reserve addition announcements relating to prior periods have continued in 2003, and it is highly likely that, as individual insurers assess their situations, industry reserves will continue to increase.

“Insurers are operating under a different external environment than just two or three years ago,” said Weinstein. “Scandals, such as those associated with financial reporting at Enron, resulted in the demise of Arthur Andersen, and the enactment of The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. We believe this is causing auditors to scrutinize financial statements (reserves) more closely prior to signing off on them.”

“Property-Casualty Loss Reserves: Strengthening Numbers” is available for sale from Conning Research & Consulting, Inc., by calling (888) 707-1177 or by visiting the company’s Web site at For more information visit

About Conning Research & Consulting, Inc.

The Conning name has represented excellence in independent insurance industry research for more than 90 years. As a result of its wealth of experience and intimate knowledge of the insurance industry, Conning understands industry challenges and opportunities and can provide in-depth insights and analyses. With offices in New York and Hartford, Conning provides both public and proprietary research as well as consulting services to the financial services industry.