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Most professional liability insurers plan to maintain rates: Survey

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Most professional liability insurers for architects and engineers plan to maintain current rates in 2018, says a survey issued Wednesday.

A total of 59% of the 17 insurers surveyed reported they plan to maintain current rates, while 6% said they plan a modest decrease, according to the annual survey report by McLean, Virginia-based specialty broker Ames & Gough.

The remaining insurers who are planning a rate increase of up to 5% cited continued rate inadequacy, historic claim experience and an increase in claim severity.

“Overall claims activity has been flat on a year-over-year basis, helping to sustain the coverage lines’ profitability,” said the report.

“Along with the competitive market conditions, this helped keep a downward pressure on insurers’ premium rates,” it said.

Among other survey findings, underwriters reported emerging risk trends include evolving project delivery methods, such as public-private partnerships, cited by 82%; judicial rulings that are eroding protections for design firms under state statutes, cited by 76%; and innovation, such as new construction materials and methods, cited by 46%.

Capacity remains strong, according to the report. “Firms that want (or are contractually required) to obtain higher insurance limits may be able to obtain such limits from their current insurer or with the participation of two or more insurers,” the report said.

The survey was conducted by email in January and February.