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Because of lower investment income, U.S. property and casualty insurers are expected to return to underwriting restraint in 2010, according to A.M. Best Co.’s "Changes in Investment Climate Turn Focus to Underwriting" report.
Insurers invested conservatively in 2009 because of the recession and financial crisis, turning to cash, short-term investments and Treasury securities. Best says that insurers’ operating results will likely feel extra pressure from lower investment income despite capital market improvements.
Best recommends that carriers reduce expenses, increase prices and maintain underwriting discipline to improve combined ratios in 2010. Best also says that insurers should expect a competitive market, increases in industry capitalization and ongoing recessionary pressures on policyholders in 2010.