According to the Risk and Insurance Management Society Inc.’s RIMS Benchmark Survey, commercial insurance premiums were flat to slightly lower in the second quarter of this year compared to the prior year. The RIMS Benchmark Survey is a comprehensive survey of current policy renewal prices as reported by corporate risk managers.
In the second quarter, directors and officers (D&O) premiums dropped 3.5 percent, the largest decrease of any line of business tracked by the survey. This reduction was due largely to rate cuts for small- to medium-sized businesses, according to RIMS.
Average property insurance premiums were largely unchanged, although the average masks significant discrepancies between policies in hurricane-exposed regions and policies in other parts of the country. Insureds in Florida and the Gulf Coast states are experiencing massive increases in the aftermath of the record-shattering 2005 hurricane season. Those in the mid-Atlantic states are also encountering higher premiums, while insureds in the Western and, especially, Midwestern states are enjoying substantial savings in property premiums.
“Aside from the increase in property insurance premiums in catastrophe-exposed regions, insurance premiums continue to trend downward,” said David Bradford, editor-in-chief at Advisen. “We expect to see this trend continue for the remainder of 2006. The industry had a good first quarter which will further fuel competition.”
“Forecasting services are predicting another active hurricane season,” said Joseph Restoule, member, RIMS Board of Directors, Membership and Chapter Services portfolio. “Risk managers are generally benefiting from softer rates but companies in natural catastrophe-exposed regions aren’t likely to see property insurance pricing conditions improve anytime soon.”
As predicted by Advisen analysts in the first quarter, general liability, which experienced a slight uptick in average pricing in the first quarter, resumed its downward slide in the second quarter, falling 1.2 percent. Advisen analysts claimed the increase in general liability premiums were a temporary response to a spike in property premium levels. Workers compensation was essentially unchanged.
The 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 management professionals can contribute by e-mailing current and prior year policy schedules to Benchmark@RIMS.org or by faxing to 212-655-7453.
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