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Property/casualty rates rise in third quarter; financial lines fall

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U.S. commercial insurance rates rose 5% in the third quarter, down from 10% in the second quarter, but there was considerable variation by line, with property insurance increases accelerating, casualty rate hikes slowing and financial lines rates falling, according to Marsh LLC’s quarterly pricing report released Wednesday.

Cyber liability rate hikes, which have soared over the past year, moderated but still saw nearly 50% average increases.

Property insurance rates in the United States rose 8% in the third quarter, compared with 6% in the second quarter. Total insured values increased 8% in the quarter, and the rate increases were driven by higher reinsurance costs, the report said.

U.S. casualty insurance prices rose 3% in the quarter, compared with 6% in the prior quarter. The easing in casualty pricing reflects soft workers compensation rates — excluding workers comp, rates rose 5% — and moderation in increases for umbrella and excess liability, Marsh said. Excess liability rates rose 7% in the quarter, compared with 16% in the prior quarter.

Financial and professional lines pricing fell 6% in the quarter, compared with an increase of 21% in the second quarter, as new capacity came into the market. Insurers and brokers have previously said more than 20 new directors and officers liability insurers entered the market over the past year.

D&O rates in the U.S. fell 9% for publicly traded companies, following a 6% decline in the second quarter. Cyber insurance prices rose 48% in the third quarter, compared with 79% in the second quarter.

“Increased competition is due to many factors, including: improved cybersecurity controls, the effect of retention level increases and rate adjustments in 2021, reduction in claims frequency over the past six months despite no change in severity, according to many insurers, and higher interest rates leading to insurers seeking top-line growth,” the report said.

Globally, insurance rates rose an average of 6% in the third quarter, compared with 9% in the second quarter and 11% in the first quarter, the report said.

The United Kingdom saw the highest average increase at 7%. Rates in continental Europe rose 6%; Latin America and the Caribbean and the Pacific region both saw 5% rate increases; and rates in Asia rose 2%.

By major product line, average property rates increased 6% globally, casualty rates rose 4%, and financial lines fell 1%.