The U.S. property/casualty industry experienced modest growth in second quarter of 2010, a new report from Charlottesville, Va.-based SNL Financial finds.

The numbers show that direct premiums written increased 1% to $113.6 billion and net premiums written were up 0.3% to $100.6 billion from the same period the prior year. The growth in premiums reverses a trend, as direct premiums written had previously declined on a year-over-year basis for six consecutive quarters and net premiums written had declined for eight straight quarters, SNL notes.

Jon Wright, director of insurance at SNL, credits trends among personal lines carriers for reversing the slide. "Second-quarter premium growth is still very much just a personal lines story," Wright says. "Most commercial lines of business continue to decline although workers' compensation is showing signs of life after five straight years of declines."

However, underwriting losses spurred by natural catastrophes negated the premium growth. Indeed, the industry generated an underwriting loss of $2.7 billion in the quarter. SNL notes that some of the personal lines carriers that produced the most significant increases in premiums written during the quarter also absorbed the largest underwriting losses.