A reader posed this question to me a little less than a month ago:
I didn’t write about this sooner because I was just getting started blogging, and had other goals. That said, he has a valid question. Property insurance, by its nature tends to be a high severity business. If there are enough uncorrelated property exposures, an insurer or reinsurer can write business, knowing that there might be bad years, but that nothing will kill them.
Unfortunately, the southeast coast of the US is a large part of the global property insurance market and not very diversifiable, because it would be a large percentage of the total premium for property coverages globally. Recently, the odds of disaster have been estimated higher by catastrophe modelers, and then by reinsurers and insurers. That has led insurers and reinsurers to ask for higher premiums or tighter terms. To the extent that state insurance departments will not allow for this, shortages occur.
I don’t derive any direct income from the P&C insurance industry. In general, I feel that allowing market forces to work yields the best overall result; it may take as many as three years for competition to do its work.