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Commercial insurance pricing stable in first quarter

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Commercial insurance prices in the U.S. were nearly flat during the first quarter of 2017, Willis Towers Watson P.L.C. said Monday.

The broker’s most recent Commercial Lines Insurance Pricing Survey found that price changes reported by insurers averaged less than 1% for the sixth consecutive quarter, following a moderating trend in price increases that began in the first quarter of 2013.

The survey compared prices charged on policies written during the first quarter of 2017 with those charged for the same coverage during the equivalent quarter in 2016. Price changes in the first quarter for most lines of business were fairly consistent with changes reported in the fourth quarter, Willis Towers Watson said.

Four lines — workers compensation, commercial property, directors and officers, and surety — indicated modest price decreases.

The outlier in the results continued to be commercial auto, where meaningful price increases were again reported. For most other lines, price changes fell in the low single digits. 

Price changes were fairly similar across segments, though slightly positive for small accounts, and flat for midmarket, large and specialty accounts.

“Despite ample capital and benign claim cost inflation trends, the commercial P&C insurance market has exercised considerable discipline as a whole over the past couple of years,” Serhat Guven, Willis Towers Watson’s Americas property/casualty sales practice leader, said in a statement. “Insurers have held the line on trading profitability for volume, while still responding as needed to emerging trends, e.g., commercial auto on the high end and workers compensation on the low end.”