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Commercial insurance pricing rises for fourth consecutive quarter: Survey

Commercial insurance pricing rises for fourth consecutive quarter: Survey

Prices for commercial property/casualty insurance lines rose for the fourth consecutive quarter in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to new data from New York-based Towers Watson & Co.

The Commercial Lines Insurance Pricing Survey showed that prices increased an average of 3% during the fourth quarter of 2011, the fourth consecutive quarter during which prices for all standard commercial lines rose. Workers' compensation and commercial property lines saw the biggest bump in prices, each rising between 4% and 6% for the quarter.

“While modest, aggregate increases in prices continued, more importantly, these increases accelerated in each quarter of 2011,” said Thomas Hettinger, property/casualty sales and practice leader for the Americas at Towers Watson. “We are now at a point where we can” say the market has turned.

CLIPS data, culled quarterly from 41 participating insurers representing approximately 20% of the commercial insurance market, also indicates the price increases are beginning to offset portions of reported claim cost inflation levels. Moreover, historical loss-cost information reported by participating carriers points to a 3% deterioration in loss ratios in accident-year 2011 relative to 2010.

“We will have a more complete picture of companies' overall 2011 performance as we analyze year-end reserve adequacy and releases,” Mr. Hettinger added. “We have seen signs of insurers reacting to the deteriorating loss ratios by raising prices, and we are still getting an understanding of how strong pricing discipline will need to be to overcome the trends in losses.”

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