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Property/casualty rates drop 4% in May: MarketScout

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DALLAS—U.S. property/casualty insurance rates dropped an average of 4% in May compared with the same period last year, Dallas-based electronic insurance exchange MarketScout said.

Property/casualty rates also fell 4% in April and March.

There has been debate about how recent catastrophes—including the March 11 earthquake in Japan and floods in Australia—will affect insurance pricing, experts say.

“Financial and economic metrics may support a market turn, but real-life situations have a considerable influence on the actual pricing,” MarketScout CEO Richard Kerr said Sunday in a statement.

MarketScout said general liability insurance rates decreased an average of 3% in May compared with last year after posting a 4% decline in April.

Meanwhile, professional liability rates held steady in May compared with last year. Rates also were steady in April, according to the electronic insurance exchange.

Energy sector findings

However, MarketScout found that pricing was competitive in the energy sector during May, in which rates fell 6% compared with a year earlier.

“The energy pricing war is primarily between two large insurers fighting for a controlling position and market share,” Mr. Kerr said in the statement, without naming the insurers. A smaller, relatively new entrant in the energy sector has been “unrealistically aggressive” in its pricing, MarketScout said.