State Farm reported a 94 percent drop in profit for 2016, as its underwriting loss from auto insurance swelled to $7 billion, up from $4.4 billion in 2015.
The nation’s largest auto insurer reported net income of $400 million in 2016, down from $6.2 billion in 2015. Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm noted that its 2015 results included “$3 billion in realized capital gains due to two corporate mergers impacting stocks owned within the unaffiliated stock portfolio.”
Overall, State Farm’s underwriting loss widened from $2.1 billion in 2015 to $5.5 billion in 2016.
In November, PropertyCasualty 360 predicted that auto insurers are facing tough times ahead, as underwriting results begin to reflect an uptick in driving – and accidents. Also, drivers distracted by their smartphones and climbing repair costs are putting pressure on State Farm and other property-casualty insurers.
“The Great Recession of 2008 pushed mileage downward as never before, until driving started to rebound and the negative trend reversed in 2012,” John Cantwell and Dorothy Kelly wrote. “Today, an improving economy and falling gas prices have more people driving more often.”
The National Safety Council recently estimated that overall vehicle mileage jumped 3 percent in 2016. Coinciding with the increase in driving, the council estimated that 40,200 people died in vehicle crashes last year – marking the deadliest year on the nation’s roads since 2007.