With these profitability rankings, we wanted to highlight the wealth of information provided by our statutory insurance data.
Charlottesville, VA (Vocus) March 2, 2010
SNL Financial’s newly released performance rankings of the largest personal lines property & casualty insurers puts MetLife Inc.'s P&C operations in the top spot, followed by two of Progressive Corp.’s SNL-defined subgroups, Progressive Direct Holdings Inc. and Progressive Agency Pool.
MetLife's P&C operations outperformed the industry, returning 22.3% on its equity before policyholder dividends and income taxes for the twelve months ending Sept. 30, 2009, compared to a median of 2.9% for the 41 companies that were ranked. MetLife's operating ratio of 84.5% was also lower than the median operating ratio of 94.4%.
Progressive Agency Pool reported the highest ROE out of the companies included in the rankings. The subgroup's ROE before policyholder dividends and income taxes for the twelve months ending Sept. 30, 2009 was 27.5%. Progressive Direct also produced a substantial ROE before policyholder dividends and income taxes of 22.1%.
“With these profitability rankings, we wanted to highlight the wealth of information provided by our statutory insurance data,” said Jon Wright, Director of SNL’s insurance group. “The highest ranked companies had a very profitable last twelve months but also tended to have higher than average underwriting leverage, which can make results more volatile.”
In determining the rankings, SNL examined 41 personal lines-focused P&C companies with over $350 million in surplus using statutory data for the twelve months ended Sept. 30, 2009. SNL selected 13 performance metrics, including return and profitability, calculating the mean among the 41 companies for each metric and then each company’s deviation from the means. (More information regarding the methodology is below.)
SNL Financial analyzed insurance companies on a second-tier basis, meaning only SNL subgroups, SNL groups (without subgroups) and companies independent of a group or subgroup were examined. SNL included entities with policyholders' surplus greater than $350 million as of Sept. 30, 2009. Only P&C companies that file NAIC statements were examined in this analysis. For multi-line companies, only the P&C operations were analyzed.
SNL chose companies focusing on personal lines of business. SNL defines personal lines insurers as companies with personal auto and homeowners comprising more than 50% of premiums written. 41 companies fit the criteria chosen by SNL.
To determine the performance scores of the companies, SNL selected 13 performance metrics and calculated the mean among the 41 companies for each metric. SNL then calculated each company's deviation from the 13 means. To minimize the effect of outliers, SNL set a range limiting the amount of deviation recorded for each company.
SNL then applied weightings to the metrics. Return –ROE and ROA (before policyholder dividends, after capital gains taxes and before income taxes) – was weighted at 35%. Profitability –Loss & LAE ratio (adjusted for reserve development) and operating ratio – was weighted 30%. Asset and surplus growth was weighted 15%, investment performance was weighted 10% and reserve development and premium growth were each weighted at 5%. SNL determined strong earnings to be the most important measure of a company’s performance and therefore weighted return heavily. Underwriting profitability was also valued highly due to the volatility of investment results in the current economic environment.
About SNL Financial
SNL Financial is a leading provider of financial information on more than 3,300 public companies and 50,000 private companies in the business sectors critical to the global economy: Banking, Financial Services, Insurance, Real Estate, Energy and Media & Communications. The SNL information service integrates breaking news, comprehensive data and expert analysis into an electronic database available online and updated around the clock. For more information, visit http://www.snl.com.
Visit the SNL Press Room to learn more about resources available to members of the media.
Press Relations Manager
mjenkins (at) snl.com
One SNL Plaza
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Other office locations:
Ahmedabad, India; Arlington, Va.; Boston, Mass.; Boulder, Colo.; Islamabad, Pakistan; Jersey City, N.J.; London; Monterey, Calif.; New York.