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Best’s Special Report: U.S. Life/Annuity Insurance Industry Sees Limited COVID-19 Impact on Operating Performance Metrics

AM Best benchmarking analysis of rated U.S. life/annuity (L/A) insurance companies showed that not only did COVID-19 have a limited impact on operating performance, those insurers with an assessment of very strong have not reported an operating loss in two decades.

In its Best’s Special Report, titled, “Limited COVID-19 Impact on U.S. L/A Operating Performance Metrics,” AM Best states that operating performance is a leading indicator of future balance sheet strength and long-term financial stability. Benchmarking is an essential element in AM Best’s rating process, as it allows for comparisons of the performance of a rating unit to its peers, composites and the industry.

Main takeaways from the analysis include:

  • Key financial metrics correlate with higher operating performance assessments, as evidenced by the 20-year look at operating performance assessments. Additionally, the severity of losses as a share of capital and surplus also was notably lower for higher-assessed companies.
  • The frequency of operating losses is notably higher for weaker-assessed companies. Companies with an operating performance of marginal reported losses in over one-third of the last 20 years.
  • Total industry death benefits paid has increased dramatically since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic: In the past two years through fourth-quarter of 2021, death benefits paid rose by 26%.

“Despite the increase in mortality risk, the impact on insurers with longevity exposure has been offset by longevity benefits and the increase in claims has not significantly diminished the industry’s solid pretax operating results, which grew by over 30% in 2021 compared with 2020,” said Jason Hopper, associate director, AM Best.

To access the full copy of this special report, please visit http://www3.ambest.com/bestweek/purchase.asp?record_code=319922.

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. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2022 by A.M. Best Company, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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