USA Property Insurance Rate Hikes Ease in Third Quarter: CIAB

by Regis Coccia
Posted on Oct. 23, 2003

Commercial property insurance price increases eased during the third quarter of this year, according to the Washington-based Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers.

A survey of CIAB members released Wednesday found that nearly one-third of small and large property accounts and 27% of midsize accounts had either no change in premiums or up to a 10% decrease on renewal and new business in the third quarter.

�Although it is not surprising that rates are softening somewhat, there are a number of factors still present in the marketplace that make it unlikely that we will be seeing any rapid decline or a retreat to soft-market conditions in the near future,� Ken A. Crerar, president of the CIAB, said in a statement. Those factors include the weak economy, low investment returns and insurers� need to build reserves, he noted.

Brokers surveyed reported that other lines also held steady or softened slightly during the third quarter of 2003 from the same period a year ago, CIAB said.

Lines cited included business interruption, in which 44% of respondents reported rate increases, down from 76% a year earlier; commercial general liability, in which 68% reported rate hikes, down from 88% in third-quarter 2002; and workers compensation, in which 62% reported increases, down from 79% a year ago.

Respondents said while rates are flattening, underwriters still are tightening terms and conditions, according to the report.

A copy of the report is available at
www.ciab.com.