Swiss Re in Canada’s “review”: A review of the Canadian insurance industry in 2003

The Canadian Property & Casualty industry is getting there. Mind you Sisyphus was probably thinking the same thing every time he got the boulder close to the top of that hill. But putting Greek mythological figures aside for a moment, last year there really were some signs of a rebound in an industry which saw its worst and second-worst years in history in 2002 and 2001 respectively.

An improved underwriting result helped translate into a stronger bottom line for the first nine months of 2003, with net profit coming in at $1.62 billion as compared with a very weak $361 million for full-year 2002, and $600 million for 2001. Still, on the Sisyphisian side, claims incurred crept up by close to $1 billion in the period, as did operating expenses. Investment yield, on a rolling 12-month basis, came in at just 5.7%, down more than one point over the year earlier period.

In the “No surprises here” category, insurers writing auto business continued to hemorrhage capital in 2003. But aside from such problems, two things marked the year in review as one to be remembered (or forgotten). First, there has probably never been a hotter year for the topic of auto insurance reform. Second, 2003 appeared to be one of the worst years on record for frequency of natural catastrophes, as hundreds of forest fires scorched much of British Columbia, incurring more than $250 million in insured damage; and Hurricane Juan ripped a wide swath through Nova Scotia before heading off to Prince Edward Island, triggering insured losses of more than $82 million. Flooding, windstorms and the blackout also contributed to cat losses throughout the year.

The January issue of Swiss Re in Canada’s monthly technical newsletter “review” looks at trends in the Canadian insurance industry in 2003, which fall mainly into the following categories: Company news; Auto reform; Other industry news; The Canadian legal environment (Lawsuits; Class actions; Awards and settlements; Legal decisions and other rulings; and, New regulations, legislation and government activity); Accidents and natural catastrophes; and, Miscellaneous.

Included in the review is recap, a synopsis of current insurance-related news both in Canada and around the world. recap includes information on such areas as “Mergers, acquisitions and industry updates;” “Liability, court awards and settlements;” “Accidents and natural catastrophes;” plus other notable industry developments.

The review is a pdf, 20 pages, 118kb – download Review from this page

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