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Declines in global insurance pricing moderate in first quarter

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Global insurance rate decreases moderated for the fifth consecutive quarter, Marsh L.L.C. said Wednesday, down 2.3% in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the previous quarter’s 3.1%.

Marsh’s Global Insurance Market Index said the first quarter of 2017 saw decreases diminish worldwide across property/casualty, financial and professional lines.

Insurance rates continued to decline globally, on average, in the first quarter across all major products. This is the third consecutive quarter in which global casualty rate decreases have moderated, with this quarter’s movement largely driven by U.S. casualty pricing.

Renewal rates increased on average by 0.4% in the U.S., primarily due to increases in auto liability pricing and the continued moderation of workers compensation pricing decreases, Marsh said.

U.S. cyber liability rates decreased 1.7% on average in the first quarter of 2017, the first time rates have declined since 2014.

Two trends are impacting cyber insurance rates, the broker said. Oerall capacity is increasing as new markets enter and existing markets expand their capacity levels. And many clients are purchasing cyber insurance for the first time, and existing large clients, with more than $1 billion in revenue, are purchasing higher limits as they become more aware of the emerging risks. Marsh said there was a 15% increase in limit amounts since 2015.

Global property rates declined on average by 3.6% in the first quarter compared with a 4.2% decrease in the fourth quarter of 2016, while financial and professional lines declined by 2.6%, compared with 3.0% in the previous quarter.

Marsh’s Global Insurance Market Index measures global commercial renewal rates, representing the world’s major insurance markets and comprising 90% of Marsh premium.

“The first quarter of 2017 was the 16th consecutive quarter in which average renewal rates declined,” Dean Klisura, global industry specialties and placement leader at Marsh, said in a statement. “This trend continues to be driven by a marketplace with significant capacity and a competitive underwriting environment.”