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AUGUST 18, 2021 08:37 AM (EDT)

Best’s Special Report: Credit Rating Upgrades, Downgrades in U.S. P/C Insurance Segment Increase Slightly in First-Half 2021


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 Brian Keleher
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OLDWICK - AUGUST 18, 2021 08:37 AM (EDT)
The number of Credit Rating (rating) upgrades and downgrades in the U.S. property/casualty (P/C) insurance industry increased in the first half of 2021 moderately over the same prior-year period, according to a new AM Best special report.

The Best’s Special Report, titled, “U.S. Property/Casualty Rating Activity Steady in First Half of 2021,” states that rating actions increased in the first half of 2021, with 347 taking place for the P/C carriers, compared to 332 during the same period in 2020. Upgrades increased to 7.5% of all rating actions, compared to 5.1% for the first half of 2020, while 4.3% of ratings actions were downgrades, rising from 3.3% in the prior-year period. Nearly 80% of rating actions in first-half 2021 were affirmations, consistent with most years.

The following are some other highlights from the report:


  • AM Best assigned 21 ratings in the first half of 2021 (or 6.1% of total rating actions), one more than the 20 assigned in the first half of 2020 (6.0%). Of the assigned ratings, 17 were in the commercial lines segment and four were in the personal lines segment;

  • In the commercial lines segment, for the first six months of 2021, there were 10 upgrades and nine downgrades, up from the first half of 2020, when there were four upgrades and five downgrades. The commercial lines segment experienced increased catastrophe losses in 2020, driven by wildfires in the West, hurricanes in the Southeast and the derecho that hit the Midwest; and

  • In the first half of 2021, the personal lines segment rating units experienced 16 upgrades and six downgrades, both representing slight increases from the first half of 2020, which had 13 upgrades and five downgrades. The personal lines segment benefited from lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, which led to a decline in frequency of losses in the automobile line of business because of the reduced number of drivers.

Most of the challenges facing the U.S. P/C industry are not new, according to the report, though carriers have been resilient in facing the challenges. Uncertainties surrounding new COVID variants and heightened inflation could put unforeseen pressure on the P/C insurers. If the cost of materials rises again and catastrophe losses are elevated in the second half of 2021, it could lead to significantly higher loss payments for insurers.

To access the full copy of this special report, please visit http://www3.ambest.com/bestweek/purchase.asp?record_code=311790 .

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City.