A new polling of insurance executives reveals some positive thoughts about their business conditions tempered by concerns about the economy as a whole.
At New York-based KPMG's 22nd annual Insurance Industry Conference, 51% of the 300 executives surveyed said that the conditions most relevant to their businesses have improved, while 28 % indicated business conditions are the same and 20% said things are worse.
However, the executives were less certain about the macro economy as 22% foresaw another downturn/double-dip before the economy begins to significantly recover, and 64% believe the recovery will not occur until 2012 or later.
"The KPMG survey findings reflect an expectation that many of the challenges insurance executives have faced in terms of financial performance over these past two years will likely persist," said Scott Marcello, KPMG's national leader for financial services and insurance sector leader.
Another source of unease the survey explored was the complexity surrounding the regulatory changes contained in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, including the creation of a Federal Insurance Office (FIO).
“While the direct impact of Dodd-Frank on many insurers is expected to be quite limited, there is the potential for a variety of indirect implications resulting from activities of the newly formed FIO and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as well as other provisions in the Act,” Marcello said. “It is clearly understandable that it will take some time to understand the full range of ramifications for the insurance industry."