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Property/casualty rates still falling: MarketScout

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U.S. property/casualty insurance rates dropped an average of 4% in April compared with the same period in 2010, Dallas-based electronic insurance exchange MarketScout said Thursday.

Property/casualty rates also declined 4% in March, MarketScout said.

The pace of decline in the “market continues to moderate,” MarketScout CEO Richard Kerr said in a statement.

Insurers gave the most aggressive price reductions to their largest customers. The buyers who had accounts between $250,000 and $1 million renewed their insurance contracts at prices that were 5% lower in April compared with the same month last year. Medium-size accounts between $25,000 and $250,000 declined an average of 3%. And accounts up to $25,000 renewed their insurance contracts in April at rates that were only 1% lower from the previous year.

Had it not been for the discounts insurers gave to their large customers, rates would have declined 3% overall in April year-over-year, MarketScout said.

The manufacturing industry saw 5% lower rates for insurance in April compared with a year ago. On the other end of the spectrum, public entities had rates that were 1% lower.

No change for several categories

While property/casualty rates declined in April, professional liability, employment practices liability and workers’ compensation coverage had no change in rates compared with March, MarketScout said.

Rates on general liability insurance coverage declined an average of 4% in April year-over-year, more than many other lines of insurance tracked by MarketScout.

From November through February, all rates dropped an average of 5%, each month and experts say insurers have battled for customers by lowering their prices in recent years.

As for next year, “we don’t know what’s going to happen, but all signs are (the market will) continue to moderate,” Mr. Kerr said.