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Commercial property/casualty insurance rates decline

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Commercial property/casualty insurance rates dropped an average of 2% in April compared with the same month a year earlier, MarketScout reported Thursday.

That's a smaller decrease than was registered in March and may signal a moderating of the current soft market, said MarketScout CEO Richard Kerr in a statement.

“It seems we may have a reversal of sentiment,” said Mr. Kerr in a statement accompanying the April report. “Rates are moderating. We are only seven months into a soft market that has so far yielded a maximum composite rate decrease of minus 4%. This soft market may be limited in length and severity. A limited soft market would be a bit surprising, noting the current ample market capacity; however, more sophisticated underwriting tools seem to be limiting market swings.”

According to the Dallas-based electronic insurance exchange, rates for commercial property and professional liability experienced the greatest decrease, at 3% each. But rates for general liability, employment practices liability and crime insurance were flat.

As has generally been the case, rates registered the smallest decrease for the smallest accounts, which reported a 1% drop, while larger accounts enjoyed a 2% drop.

Among industry classes tracked by MarketScout, transportation and habitational accounts experienced the largest declines at 3%, while all other classes reported 2% drops.