Bottom of Soft Market Signaled

Another market survey reports that commercial property/casualty market premiums showed definite signs of leveling off in the fourth quarter of 2008. According to the latest Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers’ (CIAB) Commercial P/C Market Index survey, while still a competitive market insurers were trying to hold the line on pricing in the fourth quarter. Some 43 percent of agents and brokers responding to the survey reported that premiums for small accounts (<$25K Comm. and fees) were down 1-10 percent, with 35 percent reporting no change in premiums compared with the third quarter. For medium accounts ($25K-$100K) 50 percent said premiums were down 1-10 percent while 17 percent saw decreases in the 10-20 percent range, and 18 percent said there was no change in rates compared to the last quarter. Premiums for large accounts (>$100K) saw more slippage, but not as much as the third quarter. Some 41 percent of respondents said rates declined 1-10 percent, while 21 percent said rates dropped 10-20 percent and 17 percent reported no change in rates since the third quarter. The CIAB noted that Directors and Officers (D&O) premiums saw the most upward movement with 17 percent of respondents reporting a 1-10 percent increase for the line, while 36 percent reported no change.

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