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Commercial property/casualty insurance pricing increased for the first time in more than three years in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to a survey released Thursday by the Washington-based Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers.
The council’s Fourth Quarter 2017 Commercial Property/Casualty Market Index Survey found that three months after the catastrophes and cyber events of the third quarter, commercial property/casualty rates posted a ‘minimal’ increase of 0.3% across all-sized accounts, compared with a 1.3% decrease in the third quarter of 2017.
Ken A. Crerar, the council’s president and CEO, said in a statement that “as expected, coming off a historic nat cat season, we are in a transitional market, but it is more stable than anticipated.”
Average premiums for commercial auto, workers compensation, commercial property, general liability and umbrella coverages increased for the second consecutive quarter, this time by 1.7%, compared with 1% in the third quarter of 2017.
Commercial auto continues to be an industrywide concern, the council said, as poor loss ratios drove premium pricing to an increase of 7.3%, up for the 26th straight quarter.
Commercial property increased by 2.4%, general liability was up 0.1%, umbrella was up 0.6% and general liability was up 0.1%, while workers compensation was down 2%.
Sixty percent of surveyed brokers noted an increase in commercial property claims in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter of 2017.
High-profile cyber events in the summer and fall of 2017 put cyber risk as the top concern for businesses, the council said, leading to an increased demand for cyber coverage, according to respondents.
However, there was no sign that this increase translated into policy purchases, which is consistent with results from the council’s most recent Cyber Market Watch Survey, released in December.
The council said it surveyed broker members across the country from Oct. 1-Dec. 31.
U.K.-based Fitch Ratings Ltd. said that alternative capital has been responsible for a change in reinsurance market dynamics in light of the fact that pricing has not rebounded as it typically would have following the major catastrophe losses in 2017, Artemis.bm reports. The ratings agency said that the reinsurance market cycle is now flatter than it used to be due to the influence of insurance-linked securities.