Combined Ratio

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What is the 'Combined Ratio'

The combined ratio is a measure of profitability used by an insurance company to indicate how well it is performing in its daily operations.

The combined ratio is calculated by taking the sum of incurred losses and expenses and then dividing them by earned premium. The ratio is typically expressed as a percentage. A ratio below 100% indicates that the company is making underwriting profit while a ratio above 100% means that it is paying out more money in claims that it is receiving from premiums. Even if the combined ratio is above 100%, a company can potentially still make a profit, because the ratio does not include the income received from investments.

Many insurance companies believe that this is the best way to measure the success of a company because it does not include investment income and only includes profit that is earned through efficient management.

Calculated as:

Combined Ratio

Also called "the combined ratio after policyholder dividends ratio."

BREAKING DOWN 'Combined Ratio'

The combined ratio after policyholder dividends ratio measures the money flowing out of an insurance company in the form of dividends, expenses, and losses. It is the sum of the loss ratio (loss and loss-adjustment ratio divided by net premiums earned), expense ratio (underwriting expenses divided by net premiums written), and policyholder dividend ratio.

The components of the ratio each tell a story, and should be examined both together and separately in order to understand what is driving the insurer to be profitable or unprofitable. Dividends are generated from the premiums generated from the insurer’s underwriting activities. The loss and loss-adjustment ratio demonstrates how much it costs the insurer to offer one dollar of protection. The expense ratio shows how expensive it is to generate new business, since it takes into account commissions, salaries, overhead, benefits, and operating costs.

The combined ratio does not take into account investment income. This is an important item to note, since a portion of dividends will be invested in equities, bonds, and other securities. The investment income ratio (investment income divided by net premiums earned) takes investment income into account, and is used in the calculation of the overall operating ratio.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the difference between the loss ratio and combined ratio?

    Learn about the loss ratio and combined ratio, what the two ratios measure and the main difference between the loss ratio ... Read Answer >>
  2. How does the combined ratio measure the financial health of insurance companies?

    Learn about the combined ratio, what the combined ratio measures and how it is used to measure the financial health of insurance ... Read Answer >>
  3. What is the expense ratio in the insurance industry?

    Learn about the expense ratio for insurance companies and the different methods of calculating it. The expense ratio is a ... Read Answer >>
  4. How do I calculate the combined ratio?

    Learn about the combined ratio and how it is calculated under a financial basis and a trade basis using the loss ratio and ... Read Answer >>
  5. How can I use the combined ratio to compare insurance companies?

    Learn more about the combined ratio, what it measures and how to use it to compare insurance companies. Read Answer >>
  6. How do stock dividends affect the retained earnings account?

    Understand the difference between financial ratio analysis and accounting ratio analysis. Learn why ratio analysis is important ... Read Answer >>
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