Commercial P/C Rates Continue Upward

August 16, 2000

Commercial property-casualty rates continued to increase across the country according to a report by The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers.

Through its quarterly Market Index Survey, released today, The Council reports property-casualty rates for small, medium, and large commercial lines all continued to rise through June 30, 2000. Including results from July 1 policy renewals, the data show rate increases for four of the five commercial property-casualty lines: commercial auto, workers’ compensation, property, and general liability.

Of all p/c lines, only umbrella coverage remained fairly constant for the quarter, although it too showed a slight upward trend. “We had anecdotal evidence for rate increases at the beginning of the year when we started our quarterly benchmarking,” states The Council’s President, Ken Crerar. “Since then, The Council has documented a fairly dramatic upward swing in commercial market rates. While rate increases are long overdue, leaders in our sector worry if it’s too much too fast, and if we could we be headed for an insurance crisis similar to the one we experienced in the 1980s.”

The most notable increase continued in rates for medium-size commercial accounts. Ninety-six percent of survey respondents reported higher prices within the last 90 days, and nearly half of those, or 44 percent, reported that rates have increased more than 10 percent. Small accounts also continue to rise. Eighty-nine percent reported increases in that market, with 21 percent reporting increases of greater than 10 percent. For large accounts, 85 percent reported some rate increase, with 38 percent of those indicating increases of more than 10 percent.

Rates for auto, workers’ compensation, property and general liability continue to harden as well, with over 60 percent of respondents reporting rates were “somewhat hard.” Nineteen percent reported auto rates were “very hard;” sixteen percent said workers’ compensation rates were “very hard;” and 13 reported property rates were “very hard”. Group medical rates showed a dramatic price jump for small, medium and large accounts. Nearly half of those polled said rates for all size accounts increased more than 10 percent.

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