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The soft property/casualty insurance market is gaining momentum, according to the RIMS Benchmark Survey announced Monday by the New York-based Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.
Directors and officers liability insurance and workers compensation recorded the largest decreases in premium rates during the fourth quarter of 2006, with respective drops of 5.1% and 7.4% vs. the same period in 2005. General liability premiums continued to decrease slightly in the fourth quarter, declining 2.6%, according to RIMS.
The survey found that property insurance bucked the general trend and increased 6.6% during the fourth quarter.
"This sharp increase was caused by the continuing legacy of the 2005 hurricane season," RIMS noted in a statement. "Rate increases continue to affect not only property owners with coastal exposures in the Southeast, but also companies with windstorm exposures in Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, and earthquake exposures in California."
"Risk managers have benefited from lower premiums in most lines of business, but continue to be challenged by skyrocketing property catastrophe premiums," said Joseph Restoule, RIMS secretary and a member of the board of directors, in the statement. "However, we've now gone a full renewal cycle since the catastrophes experienced in 2005. There are reasons to be optimistic that the market for catastrophe coverage will stabilize and even improve in 2007," he said.
The RIMS Benchmark Survey is produced for RIMS by New York-based insurance industry analyst Advisen Ltd.