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Direct written premiums fall in Calif. again

Total direct written premiums in California’s workers compensation system fell for the second year in row, declining 3.8% to less than $12.3 billion in 2018, according to a brief released by the California Workers Compensation Institute on Monday.

The brief, based on data compiled by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, revealed that of the 10 largest insurers in the state, all but one wrote less premium in 2018 than in 2017.

Premium volume for Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the largest underwriter of workers comp in California, declined by 5.7% between 2017 and 2018, according to the brief. State Compensation Insurance Fund, which held the No. 2 spot in the top 10, reported a decline of total premium volume of 1.6% in that same time period. Industrywide, premium volume dropped 3.8% in the state between 2017 and 2018, reported the CWCI. ICW Group Insurance Cos. was the only insurer in the top 10 that increased its direct written premium volume in 2018, though its increase was just 0.8%.

While direct written premiums in the state has not dipped to the levels seen in 2009 and 2010, when insurers wrote just $6.9 billion and $7.1 billion, respectively, this figure has been falling steadily since 2015. The aggregate premium of insurers declined by nearly $489 million in 2018.