As Insurers’ Profits Plunge, Risk Managers Reap Benefits from a Competitive Market, According to RIMS Benchmark Survey™

Rising premiums are on the horizon, but the recession continues to delay their arrival.

New York (Oct. 7, 2009) – Profits are sharply lower and tens of billions of dollars have been wiped from their balance sheets, but insurers continue to renew commercial property and casualty insurance programs at deeply depressed rates, according to the RIMS Benchmark Survey™, administered by Advisen Ltd. The survey tracks changes in insurance policy renewal prices as reported by North American corporate risk managers. Commercial insurance buyers are benefitting from low prices due in part to the global economic recession, which has suppressed demand for insurance capacity, prompting underwriters to compete for diminishing premium dollars.

“Insurers have bounced back from the worst first quarter on record, but their results are still pretty grim,” says Dave Bradford, Advisen executive vice president and editor-in-chief of the survey. “Carriers are posting underwriting losses, but in this recession, they have found it nearly impossible to push through rate increases except in a few especially distressed areas.”

Property insurance policies renewed in the third quarter with essentially no change in average premium. Directors and officers liability (D&O) policies also renewed with no change in average premium, though the D&O market remains divided between the financial institution segment, which was pummeled by the subprime mortgage market meltdown and has seen premiums rise, and the rest of the market, which still is seeing premiums drift lower. The average general liability premium fell 3.7 percent and the average workers’ compensation premium was down 4.5 percent. Contributing to lower general liability and workers compensation average premiums were declining sales and payrolls, which are used to calculate premiums.

“It’s still a buyer’s market, and it looks as if it may stay that way for a while,” says Daniel H. Kugler, ARM, CEBS, CPCU, AIC, ACI, member of RIMS board of directors and assistant treasurer, risk management, at Snap-on, Inc. “Under normal circumstances, premiums should be rising by now. But many companies are buying less insurance, and underwriters feel pressured to keep prices low to hold on to the remaining premium dollars.”

About The RIMS Benchmark Survey™

RIMS Benchmark Survey™ is produced by Advisen, Ltd., which collects and analyzes the data and provides the technology infrastructure for the survey’s online services. Risk managers and buyers of insurance either contribute directly to RIMS Benchmark Survey™ or by using our “data participation letter” to authorize their broker to provide the client’s program details. The letter is available at or by calling 800-655-6590. Risk management professionals can also contribute by e-mailing current and prior year policy schedules to [email protected] or by faxing to 212-655-7453.

Risk managers who contribute data to the survey can benchmark the structure of their commercial insurance programs, retained loss costs, exposure demographics and Total Cost of Risk (TCOR) against a highly relevant group of peer companies. Additionally, survey respondents can use software personalized and configured for their needs to view detailed schedules of insurance, programs for current and past years and full-color program tower charts. Both benchmark charts and program charts can be downloaded into any presentation for senior management. The results of the RIMS Benchmark Survey™ are available online or in an annually-published book. Visit for details.

About the Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc.

As the world’s preeminent organization dedicated to advancing the practice of risk management, the Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc. (RIMS) is a not-for-profit organization serving more than 3,500 industrial, service, nonprofit, charitable and government entities globally. Founded in 1950, RIMS focuses its efforts on bringing networking, professional development and education opportunities to its membership of nearly 10,000 risk management professionals. RIMS publishes Risk Management magazine, delivered monthly to 17,000 readers, and hosts an annual conference that boasts more than 400 exhibitors and attracts more than 10,000 attendees. For more information on RIMS, visits