Travelers CEO Says His Company’s Business Insurance Rates Up Over 5%

The Travelers Companies CEO Jay Fishman said at a financial conference yesterday that his company raised rates for business insurance customers by 5.2 percent in October, followed by 5.8 percent in November, according to a news report.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Travelers CEO Fishman offered these comments at a Goldman Sachs financial services conference Tuesday. Those rate increases represent largest price hikes in a number of years.

The Travelers’ principal tactic right now is to drive rate, CEO Fishman was quoted as saying in the report. There is a sense of optimism building around this, and a notion that the company can continue to drive this strategy successfully, he said at the conference.

His comments seem to support the latest industry report that says the overall business insurance prices are rising.

A report this week from MarketScout says the soft-market cycle has finally broken. The firm’s November Market Barometer report notes that November 2011 had the first composite-rate increase, up an average of 1 percent, since the soft market began in February 2005.

MarketScout, an electronic insurance exchange, said commercial rates for every coverage class are at least flat, with a 2 percent hike in commercial property, business owners’ policies, and workers’ comp. Biggest rate hikes came from small accounts. But large accounts saw smaller rate increases or even continued decreases in rates, it said.