The economy remains the top most critical political issue facing the United States today, according to brokers responding to the latest Commercial P/C Market Index survey from the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB). Brokers also observed continuing fierce competition in the market, as pricing trends remained virtually unchanged from the first quarter to the second quarter. Average rates for commercial property/casualty premiums declined 4.9 percent in the second quarter of 2009, compared with a 5.1 percent decline in the first quarter, the CIAB said. Overall rate declines for small, medium and large accounts were fairly consistent with decreases in the first quarter of the year. On average, large accounts (>$100K Comm. and fees) declined 6.7 percent compared with the first quarter decline of 6.4 percent. Midsize accounts ($25K-$100K) dropped on average 5.7 percent, about the same decline as in the first quarter. The rate of decline for small accounts (<$25K) was 2.5 percent compared with 3.3 percent in the first part of the year. When asked if they saw any improvement in the market or the economy impacting their business in a positive way, an overwhelming 84 percent of brokers said “no.” Check out I.I.I. information on financial results and market conditions.