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Commercial insurance rates keep falling

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Commercial property/casualty insurance rates fell 3.3% on average in the fourth quarter of 2016 with only commercial auto business seeing increases, according to the latest survey by the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers.

The Washington-based trade association said in a statement Thursday that a survey of its member firms showed rates declined across small, medium and large accounts for the eighth straight quarter.

Large accounts saw the largest decrease at 4.9%, followed by medium accounts at 3.8% and small accounts at 1.3%.

While rate decreases began slowly during the fourth quarter in 2014, the CIAB said premiums fell the most in 2016. Survey respondents noted; however, that the decrease in rates in the fourth quarter was fairly consistent with third quarter, signaling some stability in the market.

“While premium rate decreases have been steady throughout the past two years, there is normalization in the market across most lines of businesses,” said Ken A. Crerar, president and CEO of the CIAB.

Commercial property saw the sharpest fall in rates down 4.4%, followed by workers compensation down 2.9%, general liability down 2.6% and umbrella liability down 1.4%. The only line of business that saw an increase in rates was commercial auto where prices rose 4.4%. Commercial auto has been a problem line for some insurers over the past year with several large insurers reducing their exposure to the class of business.