The amount of premiums collected by surplus lines stamping offices continued to decline in 2009 according to a report by the Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas, with approximately $19.5 billion collected, compared to $21.2 billion in 2008. By comparison, in 2007 stamping offices reported processing $23 billion in premiums.
The 7.9% percent decline from 2008 to 2009 was slightly less than the 8.2% decline from 2007 to 2008. While there was a large decline in premiums written, the number of policies declined only by 1.9%, to 3.25 million items processed.
Of the 15 stamping offices in operation at the start of 2009, 13 reported declines in premiums, with only Texas and Mississippi reporting increases, 4.2% and 5.7% respectively. States reporting small decreases in premiums were Washington (-1.4%), Florida (-5.5%), Illinois (-7.0%), and New York (-9.5%).
Montana reported the largest percentage decline in premiums but their stamping office ceased operation as of July 1 as the state took over collection of premium taxes. All other state stamping offices reported double digit declines in premiums, including: Nevada (-20.9%), California (-19.0%), Oregon (-18.6%), Idaho (-15.2%), Pennsylvania (-12.5%), Utah (-12.0%), and Arizona (-11.9%).
Minnesota’s stamping office began operations in 2009 and reported $247 million in premiums. California reported the most premium in 2009 at $4.6 billion, followed by Florida at $4.15 billion, Texas at $3.4 billion and New York at $3 billion.