Property Insurance Report covers the most dizzyingly complex and volatile business we have encountered in three decades of business journalism. As journalists, we work to help all the players in this industry understand the opportunities and challenges of better managing their business with a goal of finding the right paths toward long-term profitable growth. While our primary focus is on homeowners insurance, we also keep a close watch on commercial multiperil, fire, earthquake and allied lines.
The newsletter relies of a series of regular features and a mix of analytical essays to deliver insights.
A fixture of our coverage are stories focused on a single state property insurance market. We publish tables of the largest insurers of homeowners, commercial multiperil (we focus on non-liability coverage), fire and allied lines, with premium, market share, and loss ratio over three years, and publish exclusive tables on after-tax industry profitability. Our reporting examines the competitive, regulatory, legislative, judicial and cultural landscape for insurers and consumers alike.
Property Insurance Report is also the publication of record as it relates to national premium and loss ratio data. Each year we publish a list of virtually every active homeowners insurance company, as well as leading commercial, fire, and allied lines insurers. We examine claims trends by state for each line.
The newsletter analyzes the latest data on average insurance costs for consumers, including an exclusive “HURT Index,” which calculates the cost of homeowners insurance relative to personal income. That way we can better gauge the states where auto insurance is likely to be a more challenging political issue.
Property Insurance Report provides data and analysis of the performance of the leading home insurers across the country. No publication takes a closer look at the various homeowners insurance customer satisfaction surveys.
Property Insurance is big: with $111 billion at play in the United States – $67 billion in homeowners insurance alone – property insurance represents a quarter of all U.S. property and casualty insurance premium. It is broad: virtually every structure in the United States relies on a property insurer for some kind of protection. It is volatile: every time the wind blows, the ground shakes, the temperature drops, the waters rise, the rains fall or hail drops. In short, just about every time the sun comes up and goes down, there are sudden and sometimes catastrophic losses that have to be financed.
And because of all these things, property insurance can be intensely politicized.
And yet, this remains a hand-crafted business crying out for increased use of information technology. Why, outsiders ask, is property insurance so desperately behind other businesses in application of new, more sophisticated business practices?
The answer is simple: homeowners insurance is more complicated than any other line of insurance. For example, in the United States there are about 130 million individual “housing units,” 75 million of them owner-occupied. Each and every one of them is startlingly unique. For comparison, there are 250 million vehicles in the United States, but they can come from just a handful of manufacturers, just a few score models, and the majority were manufactured in just the past decade. As complex as it may seem, keeping track of automobiles is child’s play compared to understanding homes and commercial properties.
But just because it is hard, doesn’t mean it isn’t possible, or vitally important Toward that end, we have devoted ourselves to constant examination of new data and analytical tools. A major part of the property insurance industry today are the many companies that do not take on risk as insurers, but rather provide insurers with the information, tools, skills, and insights to do a better job assessing risk, setting prices, attracting and managing customers, and settling claims. We consider these providers to be just as central to our coverage as the insurers themselves, and work just as hard to serve them as readers.
Several times a year the newsletter is given over to longer essays examining important trends in the market. Often these essays are connected to our work at the Property Insurance Report National Conference. Here are a few topics that have received detailed examination in recent issues:
• The superior returns on equity earned by the top performing homeowners insurers, and the disastrous results of the worst performers, pointing out the greater dangers of poor management in property insurance than in other lines.
• The emergence of smart-phone based tools for home inventory and claims
• The importance of social networking to insurance marketing
• The opportunity – yes opportunity – presented by rising claims in property insurance
• What to do with shrinking involuntary markets
• The powerful opportunity insurers have found in promoting loss mitigation through careful scientific research on the behavior of structures in storms
Our writing style is conversational, some would say casual, and is given to bad puns, goofy headlines, stray references from pop culture, sports, literature and history, as well as an affinity for awkward alliteration.
The newsletter is published bi-weekly, 24 times a year, is usually ten pages, and is distributed in the most remarkable fashion: through the United States Mail. While the rest of the world struggles to move their information through the desperately crowded and jumbled electronic pipeline of email and the Internet, we have found this wonderful and underutilized premium delivery service that will take a document we have already printed for you and hand carry it right to your desk. What could be better?