Pricing for workers compensation insurance continued to harden in California during the first half of 2013, according to a report published Wednesday by SNL Financial L.C.
California’s 10 largest workers compensation insurers by premium volume, which account for roughly 60% of the state’s marketplace, increased their rates an average of 4.3% during the first half of the year, based on filings for new business effective between Jan. 1 and July 1, according to SNL Financial’s report.
Excluding a 7% decrease filed in March by the State Compensation Insurance Fund, which is the state’s largest workers comp insurer, the average rate increase among California’s market leaders through July 1 was 5.9%. Within that group, the largest rate increases belonged to American International Group Inc. and Liberty Mutual Holding Co. Inc., which submitted rate hikes of 10.0% and 10.9%, respectively.
Statewide, rates for new workers compensation accounts were at their highest in February, when insurers in California filed average rate increases of 9.8% on $1.1 billion in premiums written, according to SNL Financial’s report.
At least 20 insurers in California included in SNL Financial’s analysis filed rate increases of 15% or more for new business in the first half of the year. Seven firms — including units of Liberty Mutual, CNA Financial Corp. and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. — filed rate increases of 20% or more, while units of Hanover Insurance Group Inc. and American Financial Group Inc. filed rate increases in excess of 30%.
Few decreased rates
Only a handful of companies included in SNL Financial’s analysis reported rate decreases in the first half of 2013. Among them was Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange, Church Mutual Insurance Co. and units of Nationwide and Utica National Insurance Group.
California’s workers comp market has been particularly bothersome for Tower Group International Ltd., SNL Financial said in the report.
Tower Group cited market conditions in California, where roughly 44% of the company’s workers compensation premiums are written, as one key driver behind the $326.7 million reserve charge it reported in its second-quarter earnings statement. Several of the company’s operating units in March were granted rate hikes of 6.2% for new business in California, and one unit — Preserver Insurance Co. — filed a rate increase of 17.1%.
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According to the Life Foundation,
Brigette Hunter was just 27, and a new mother, when she was widowed. Her husband, Matt, was killed in a car accident. To compound her pain, she had to borrow money from her parents to pay for Matt’s funeral, as he had no life insurance.
Just six months later, friends introduced Brigette to Anthony. She wasn’t looking for a relationship, but Anthony was persistent. “He could sell snow to an Eskimo,” Brigette says. They married and soon opened their own electrical business. With the business and three children to support, the couple bought small life insurance policies. Lisa Rinehart, a financial professional, met them several years later, determined that they needed considerably more life insurance, and helped them through the buying process.
A year later, Anthony found a bump on his chin. He had recently walked through a spider web at a job site and assumed it was a bite. But it didn’t go away, and Anthony learned it was melanoma, a cancer he had battled as a teenager. It soon spread to his lungs, brain and bones.
Still wanting to provide for his family, Anthony invoked a provision in one of his life insurance policies that allowed for an early payout to a terminally ill policyholder, and used part of his death benefit to buy a nicer home for his family. He oversaw renovations and was able to spend a month in the house before he died at 34.
The remaining money from Anthony’s policies helped Brigette pay off medical bills and meet her household expenses. It also kept the business afloat. She could make payroll and pay vendors while she and her foreman reassured clients that the business would continue. “Without the money I would have had to close,” she says.
Scurich Insurance Services know that life insurance is a necessity for every family. Contact them today to see how a policy can fit into your budget. 800-320-3666