The Co-operators General Insurance Company is breaking records on both ends of the spectrum.
It reported net income of $197.8 million in the first quarter of 2021, versus a net loss of $48.9 million in Q1 2020, when the COVID-19 crisis was emerging.
This staggering growth of $246.7 million catapulted the Co-operators General from its worst net result of any quarter to its best.
Best combined ratio
The company reported its lowest combined ratio, excluding the market yield adjustment, since at least the first quarter of 2017. The ratio was 81.9 per cent in Q1 2021, down from 94.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, for a 12.4 point improvement.
“In the first quarter of 2021, our financial performance remained strong, driven by a trend of improved underwriting performance coupled with continued favourable investment results,” says Rob Wesseling, President and CEO of The Co-operators Group Limited, which includes The Co-operators General.
Favourable stock markets
The Co-operators reported net investment gains and income of $64.5 million in the first quarter of 2021, versus a net investment loss of $100.3 million in Q1 2020. The result amounts to an increase of $164.8 million, “primarily driven by realized gains in our preferred share portfolio and gains on foreign exchange contracts,” the company says.
“During the first quarter, economic recovery and vaccine rollouts, supported by accommodative fiscal and monetary policies, have resulted in continued gains in equity markets while rising interest rates drove lower bond valuations,” The Co-operators explains.
Underwriting income explodes
Excluding the market yield adjustment, The Co-operators recorded underwriting income of $164.9 million in the first quarter of 2021, up sharply from $49.8 million in Q1 2020. This result reflects an increase of 231.1 per cent or $115.1 million.
Although this result was offset by “higher major events in the farm line of business resulting from two significant windstorms in the West,” two factors bolstered it.
The “largest contributor” to this record performance is lower total claims and adjustment expenses, The Co-operators says. These expenses fell from $566.1 million in the first quarter of 2020 to $429 million in Q1 2021, due to fewer claims as a result of restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“In addition, we experienced premium growth in the auto and home lines of business across all regions,” The Co-operators continues.
The Co-operators General reported direct written premiums (DWP) of $840.6 million for the first quarter of 2021, up from $829.2 million for Q1 2020.
This increase of 1.4 per cent or $11.4 million was “primarily driven by higher average premiums in the home and auto lines of business,” the company explains. However, it was “partially offset by a decrease in premiums in the travel and other line of business as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions.”
Net earned premiums were $912 million in the first quarter of 2021 compared with $872.5 million in Q1 2020. This increase of 4.5 per cent or $39.5 million is “attributable to higher average premiums from renewals in the home and auto lines.”
Northbridge also released its financial results for the first quarter of 2021.