Modest Market Decline Continues

Two new surveys on the state of the commercial insurance market point to a continued moderation in rate reductions, albeit with different data. Towers Perrin’s quarterly survey indicates that average prices for all lines of coverage combined continued to decrease during the first quarter of 2008, dropping about 6 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago. Towers Perrin says large insureds experienced price decreases nearly four times larger, on average, than small accounts. However, the dramatic drop in prices seen in 2007 for specialty lines, including directors & officers (D&O) liability appears to have tapered off. Meanwhile, online insurance exchange MarketScout said average P&C rates decreased 11 percent in June, compared to a decline of 14 percent a year ago. Commercial property, general liability and employment practices liability experienced the largest rate decreases (15 percent, 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively). Towers Perrin notes that its data indicates more conservative price reductions than other marketplace surveys and that its information is gathered from insurers, rather than brokers.

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