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Commercial insurance premium rate hikes hold steady in fourth quarter

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Commercial insurance premiums increased 8% on average in the fourth quarter, down marginally from the 8.1% rise in the third quarter, according to the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers’ latest pricing report released Wednesday.

The increase marked the 21st consecutive quarter – more than five years – of rising premium rates, though most major lines other than property insurance saw a slowdown in increases, the report said.

Commercial property took over from umbrella liability as the line with the biggest increase, with average rates rising 16% in the fourth quarter, compared with 11.2% in the third quarter; umbrella rates rose 9.6%, compared with 11.3%; commercial auto was up 7.3%, compared with 7.6%; and general liability climbed 4.9%, compared with 5.7%.

The only line that saw a decline was workers compensation where rates fell 1.1%, compared with a 0.7% decrease in the third quarter.

Among other lines, cyber liability rates jumped 15%, but that was down from 20% in the third quarter.

By account size, large accounts saw the biggest average rate increase at 9.1%, followed by medium-size accounts at 8.3% and small accounts at 6.5%.