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Premium return higher for mutuals

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The amount of premium returned to policyholders in US mutual insurance companies was five times larger than the return to non-mutuals, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) says.

Mutuals account for 41% of the property and casualty market in the US.

The report, jointly developed with Aon, says 1.1% was returned to mutual policyholders, compared to 0.2% for non-mutuals.

Capital and surplus grew by 1.8% among mutual insurers, compared to other insurers who suffered a 3% decline in surplus growth due to higher underwriting costs.

However, mutuals pay out 73% of each premium dollar for claims expenses compared to 70.2% for non-mutuals. The operating ratio for mutual insurers was about 6.7% higher for non-mutuals, at 93.5% compared to 86.8%.

On a five-year basis, it was 73.8% compared to 69.7%. The expense ratio for both mutuals and non-mutuals is the same.

Direct commissions and broker expenses were slightly lower for mutuals at 10.5%, compared to stock insurers at 11.9%. The commission expense ratio for mutual insurers was only 9.5% for 2018, compared to 12.5% for non-mutuals.

Mutual companies are also better capitalised compared to non-mutual insurers, with a capital adequacy ratio 10% higher.

NAMIC spokesman Neil Alldredge says the data shows that “when it comes to operating performance and agency ratings, mutual insurers remain consistently strong”.

“It also validates that the mutual structure, which stresses the alignment of company and policyholder interests, serves both equally well.”