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Underwriting Cycle


Definition of "Underwriting cycle"

Tendency of property and liability insurance premiums, insurers' profits, and availability of coverage to rise and fall with some regularity over time. A cycle can be said to begin when insurers tighten their underwriting standards and sharply raise premiums after a period of severe underwriting losses. Stricter standards and higher premium rates often bring dramatic increases in profits, attracting more capital to the insurance industry and raising underwriting capacity. On the other hand, as insurers strive to write more premiums at higher levels of profitability, premium rates may be driven down and underwriting standards relaxed in the competition for new business. Profits may erode and then turn into losses if more tax underwriting standards generate mounting claims. The stage would then be set for the cycle to begin again.



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