Australian General Insurance Industry’s Roe Bounces Back; FY24 Predictions Revealed by Finity

Australian General Insurance Industry’s Roe Bounces Back; FY24 Predictions Revealed by Finity

The Ritz Herald

The Australian general insurance industry’s return on equity (ROE) has bounced back in the 2023 financial year (FY23), ending three years of low single-digit returns, according to strategic analytics firm Finity in its recently released 17th Optima report.

Optima is Finity’s flagship annual “state of the industry” report that delves into the critical general insurance market trends from the previous financial year and unveils the firm’s forecast for the coming year. It also assesses overall industry and class of business performance and key prospects in the future across 11 classes of insurance.

Key figures

The latest Optima report revealed that the Australian general insurance industry’s ROE bounced back to 14% in FY23, equivalent to net profits after tax of $3.6 billion, a significant increase on the average level of only $0.5 billion between FY20 and FY22.

“The strong industry reported profitability is a remarkable result given ongoing challenges, on multiple fronts, in the operating environment,” said Andy Cohen, principal at Finity and lead author of Optima.

The general insurance industry saw 12.5% gross earned premiums in FY23, much stronger than the 10% achieved in the 2022 financial year (FY22). The significant growth was driven more by rate change than volume growth.

The industry also reported a 68% net loss ratio, two points worse in FY23 compared to the previous financial year. The change was driven by several factors: positive outcomes included a benign year for catastrophe-related claims costs and higher reserve releases.

In contrast, adverse outcomes that outweighed positive ones included a weaker upside from discount rate changes and the rise in attritional or smaller catastrophe-related claims costs.

FY24 forecasts

For the 2024 financial year (FY24), the Optima report predicts 11% growth but a 4% increase in net loss ratio due to an increased underlying loss ratio (+1%), lower COVID-19 business interruption releases (+1%), and no discount rate movements (+2%).

The report also expects higher investment returns in FY24 and a lower expense ratio to keep industry profitability close to FY23 levels.

“Looking forward to FY24, we see the ITR margin and ROE holding up (at 10% and 13%, respectively), albeit slightly lower than in FY23,” said Scott Collings, managing director of Finity and co-author of the Optima report.

Despite these challenges, Finity’s forecast indicates a resilient industry, with Scott Collings, Managing Director of Finity, projecting a 10% ITR margin and a 13% ROE, albeit slightly lower than the impressive FY23 figures. This outlook underscores the industry’s adaptability and strategic resilience in navigating complex market dynamics.

About Finity

Established as a leading actuarial and strategic analytics firm in Australia, Finity collaborates with a diverse range of clients across multiple sectors. Their commitment to excellence was recognized in 2023 when they were awarded the ANZIIF’s Professional Services Firm of the Year.

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