Applied Underwriters announced Feb. 23 that it will acquire Catlin Specialty Insurance Company from Axa XL group of companies, consolidating the company into the North American Casualty group of companies in a move intended to bolster Applied’s operating capabilities in support of its strategic partners as the E&S market hardens. The transaction is scheduled to close during the second quarter as anticipated regulatory approvals are received. “The Catlin Specialty Insurance Company is licensed as an E&S carrier in all states except Oklahoma where it will be domiciled and where it holds a large number of surplus lines authorizations. To effect the acquisition, Applied and Axa XL worked with Delaware and Oklahoma regulators to redomesticate Catlin from Delaware to Oklahoma, so that Oklahoma’s IBT (Insurance Business Transfer) process could be used,” said Steve Menzies, chairman of Applied Underwriters. Formed in the 1950s, Catlin Specialty Insurance Company was the subject of a series of transactions that culminated in its acquisition in 2006 by Catlin Group Limited. In 2015, the company became part of what is now Axa XL. Applied Underwriters operates throughout the U.S., U.K., EU and Middle East. Its operational headquarters is located in Omaha, Nebraska.
CarInsuranceComparison.com that analyzed driving behavior by state in a recent study found New Mexico and Texas to be the worst states, while Minnesota was the best state. Louisiana ranked fifth. The study’s results were released Feb. 22. Montana, Texas, and South Carolina have all been in the ranking of the 10 states with the worst drivers 10 times since 2011 when the study began ranking states based on how bad drivers are relative to fatalities. The categories analyzed were overall car accident fatality rate, deaths related to breaking traffic laws, careless driving deaths, drunk driving deaths, and speeding deaths. Speeding was the most prevalent category. The study found that, on average, the 10 states ranking in the top 10 worst states for driving had an overall car accident fatality rate of 1.34 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The fatality rate in the top 10 ranged from 1.73 in South Carolina to 0.98 in Hawaii. However, Hawaii has the highest percentage of fatal accidents that involved speeding among the top 10 states, second-worst among all 50 states. CarInsuranceComparison.com is a hub for all drivers who are shopping for car insurance. The website offers a tool to compare and shop for car insurance.
AUTO LOSS RATIOS
According to newly released data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the largest U.S. private auto insurers saw their loss ratios deteriorate in 2021 from the prior year. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., for example, with direct premiums written of $41.67 billion, saw its loss ratio worsen to 72.2 percent from 54.6 percent in 2020 as inflation and higher severity and frequency pushed up claims cost. Allstate Corp., with $27.22 billion of direct premiums written in personal auto, saw its loss ratio rise to 67.3 percent in 2021 from 51.7 percent in 2020. S&P Global Ratings analysts said personal auto writers, after benefiting from lockdown measures in 2020, saw a significant increase in claims frequency in 2021 as miles driven recovered to near pre-pandemic levels. However, this was compounded by claims severity also jumping owing to supply-driven inflationary pressure on used car prices, replacement parts, and labor costs.
Car insurance rates are going up in Louisiana, with some drivers reporting hikes of up to 35 percent compared to the same coverage last year. Rates had remained relatively flat in recent years, with a 1.8 percent average increase in 2021, a 4.1 percent decrease in 2020, and a 1.4 percent decrease in 2019, but Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said those discounts will end this year for most customers. He explained that as drivers emerged from lockdown the number of car accidents went up, too, which started to impact insurance rates.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has warned that major cities across the United States have seen an “unprecedented” surge in auto thefts and carjackings in recent years. According to the NICB, car thefts nationwide increased by 16.5 percent in 2021 compared to 2019, and nearly 29 percent compared to 2017. State-wise, certain jurisdictions such as Colorado and Wisconsin posted 79 percent and 74 percent more auto theft incidents in 2021 than in 2019, respectively. The NICB also found that many large cities, like New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., have experienced triple-digit increases in carjackings over the past two years. In recent Senate testimony, NICB President and CEO David Glawe recommended policymakers consider increasing the number of community policing programs; revamping criminal justice reform policies; enforcing existing laws as written; focusing more attention on violent offenders; collecting national and state data on carjackings, and identifying and implementing successful early intervention programs to reduce carjackings.
Coalition Inc. reported that average ransomware demands increased to $1.84 million in the second half of 2021, a 20 percent hike over the first six months of the year. Its analysis of cyber claims also revealed that ransomware claims frequency increased 23 percent in the second half. Overall, cybercrime claims severity increased 28 percent to an average loss of $197,000 over the period.