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November 19, 2022

US workers' comp premiums rise in 2021; Travelers retains top spot

U.S. workers' compensation direct premiums written rose 2.10% year over year to $52.25 billion in 2021, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.

The top 20 writers of workers' comp business essentially split between premium increases and decreases for the year. AmTrust Financial Services Inc., The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and State Compensation Insurance Fund recorded double-digit growth in written premiums, while Starr Cos. and ICW Group Inc. logged double-digit declines.

AmTrust stood out with a 25.2% year-over-year increase in direct premiums written, which jumped to $2.45 billion. The insurer rose four spots in the rankings, moving into the top three.

Travelers stays on top despite premium decline

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The Travelers Cos. Inc. held on to its position as the top workers' comp insurer in the U.S. even after its premiums written decreased by 5.1% to $3.55 billion from $3.74 billion in 2020.

The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.'s premiums climbed 10.1% to $3.29 billion. The Hartford held steady as the second-largest writer of workers' comp business in 2021.

Combined ratio edges up

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The industry's combined ratio worsened slightly for the fourth consecutive year, though still remained well below the 100% profitability benchmark. The combined ratio ticked up to 88.1% in 2021, from 87.2% a year ago and 83.6% at the low point set in 2018.

State Compensation Insurance Fund, which had the second-biggest increase in premiums, posted the highest workers' comp combined ratio among the top 20 underwriters at 144.3%.

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