(The following statement was released by the rating agency)
Oct 8 - Fitch Ratings has published a new report that examines the financial performance of the U.S. Commercial Auto Insurance Industry and the 20 largest market participants.
'Commercial auto insurance is not only the fourth largest commercial lines insurance segment, but also is a barometer for performance in the broader commercial insurance market' said Jim Auden, Managing Director in Fitch's North American Insurance Group.
Commercial auto insurance has exhibited more consistent underwriting results relative to other commercial lines, and has generated better results relative to the much larger personal auto segment over the last five years. However, an extended period of declining premium rates and insured exposure declines from the economic downturn promoted deterioration in commercial auto underwriting performance.
The commercial auto segment reverted to a calendar year underwriting loss for the first time in nine years with a combined ratio of 103.6% in 2011. Fitch notes that market fundamentals for commercial auto insurance are improving and a return to a statutory underwriting profit is projected for the segment in 2013.
The report includes a comparison of commercial auto statutory results for the segment's top 20 writers that reveals wide variation in individual companies' underwriting performance in the commercial auto insurance space.
The full report 'Commercial Auto Market Update' is available at '.'
(Caryn Trokie, New York Ratings Unit)