What is Calendar Year Experience?

In the insurance industry, a calendar year experience (also called accident-year experience or underwriting-year experience) is the difference between the premiums earned and the losses incurred during a calendar year.

How Does Calendar Year Experience Work?

Let's say Company XYZ had 1,000 customers, each of whom has a policy that has a $5,000 annual premium. The insurer earned $5 million. However, of the 1,000 customers, 20 had accidents and made claims on their policies for $2 million. Accordingly, Company XYZ's calendar year experience was $5,000,000 - $2,000,000 = $3,000,000.

Why Does Calendar Year Experience Matter?

An insurer's calendar year experience is a measure of how well a company underwrites insurance. That is, it measures the company's ability to make good bets on people who are less likely to make claims.

It is important to note that a company may earn a premium or incur a loss at one point in time and actually receive the cash (or pay out the cash) associated with those events later. Accordingly, a calendar year experience should not be mistaken as a measure of how much cash an insurer 'kept,' 'collected,' or 'disbursed' in a year.