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Property/casualty insurance rates dropped an average of 4% in December compared with the same period a year earlier, MarketScout said Tuesday.
“Throughout 2009, there was much anticipation of a return to rate increases; however, those increases never materialized,” the Dallas-based electronic insurance exchange said in a statement.
MarketScout noted, however, that the year began with average rate reductions of 9% in January that moderated to 4% at year-end.
“Reinsurance rates were favorable for insurers renegotiating their Jan. 1, 2010, treaties,” MarketScout Chairman and CEO Richard Kerr said in the statement. “These favorable reinsurance terms will help insurers continue their aggressive pricing strategies; however, in 2010 we do expect continued moderation in rate decreases.
“By the end of 2010, insurers will begin increasing rates in almost all lines of business,” MarketScout said. “Insurance brokers who are attempting to forecast the impact of rates on a diversified book of P/C business should expect a composite premium reduction of around 2% in 2010, excluding the impact of an increase or decrease in exposures, such as payrolls or gross receipts. The return to rate increases will come in 2010, but the full impact will not be recognized until 2011. Of course, a cataclysmic event could change everything.”
MarketScout said directors and officers liability remains the only coverage that has returned to a “flat” basis for new and renewal business.
Rates for property and general liability coverage fell 4% while workers compensation rates decreased 5% in December, which MarketScout said was the largest decrease of any line of coverage.