Industry statistics show squeeze

The latest APRA figures show the extent of the current squeeze on the insurance industry, which has faced big jumps in claims costs as premium rates continue to shrink.

While gross written premium for Australian industry as a whole grew 2.3% to $42.2 billion last financial year, gross incurred claims shot up by a quarter, to $32.5 billion, thanks in large part to natural catastrophe losses in NSW and Queensland.

Worst hit was the fire and industrial special risk sector, where natural disasters prompted a 133.5% year-to-year leap in claims, at the same time that competitive pressures pushed the average annual premium down 10%, from $2859 to $2581.

There were also big falls in average employers liability premiums, which slipped from $11,804 to $10075.

Average premiums for professional indemnity and public and product liability policies also fell sharply, by 5% in both cases.