U.S. Commercial Insurance Prices Inched Up in Q4

March 18, 2019

U.S. commercial insurance carriers again earned price increases in the 2018 fourth quarter, but the growth was slight. Premiums during the quarter grew just under 2 percent on average compared to the same period in 2017, according to Willis Towers Watson’s latest Commercial Lines Insurance Pricing Survey (CLIPS).

Trends continued on a similar trajectory from the 2018 third quarter and earlier in the year, with some commercial insurance lines growing more than others.

Pricing for commercial property, for example, went up more than 4 percent on average during the quarter and commercial auto prices increased at or near double digits for the fifth consecutive quarter, Willis Towers Watson said.

Workers’ compensation was an exception once again, with “ongoing material price reductions” according to the CLIPS report.

Willis Towers Watson determined that early reports of 2018 claim cost inflation showed higher cost increases than in 2017.

“Price increases for the fourth quarter were primarily modest, yet sustaining the level reported throughout 2018,” said Jeffrey Carlson, director, Insurance Consulting and Technology, Willis Towers Watson. “Also, the uptick in carriers’ reported claim cost inflation for 2018 may be contributing to upward pressure on rates.”

Willis Towers Watson’s survey involves data from 39 insurers representing approximately 20 percent of the U.S. commercial insurance market, excluding state workers’ compensation funds.

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