The overall property-casualty market grew 9.5% in 2003, and independent agents and brokers produced 59.4% of this market, according to “The 2003 Property-Casualty Insurance Market” recently released by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA).

The independent agency system grew its overall market share by 0.7 points in 2003, achieving growth in share in both commercial and personal lines.

The p-c market weighed in at $434.68bn in direct written premiums in 2003, of which independent agents and brokers wrote $258.17bn. The overall market increased by $41.29bn, and the independent agency system produced $27.27bn of this growth.

“The results of this report clearly show there is a strong and growing consumer and business acceptance of the independent agency and brokerage consumer model, and it also identifies the very real opportunitiesindependent agents and brokers have for growth,” says IIABA CEO Robert A Rusbuldt.

“The research also shows that that there are efficient companies using each type of distribution system, and that efficient independent agency writers are able to deliver insurance just as cost-effectively as captive-agent writers and many of the direct companies, and sometimes even more effectively.”

On the commercial-lines side, the market share report finds that the market continued to grow at the double digit rate of 11.8 percent in 2003 to $229.14bn. This growth of over $24bn in commercial lines written premium followed a strong year of growth in 2002, when this market increased by 19%.