Given all the major disasters and other market realities of the past year, it’s hard to doubt that the hard market will soon be here. Policyholders have enjoyed a near-unprecedented stretch of favorable insurance premium prices, but it seems that even they now know that the jig is up.
According to a recent survey by Barclays Capital, nearly three-fourths of buyers no longer expect any rate decreases.
Commercial property/casualty insurance prices are stabilizing, with 70 percent of buyers expecting at least flat rates after years of declines, Barclays Capital said Tuesday.
The firm’s survey of 50 large buyers showed insurers are more disciplined, with multiyear deals absent from the market. Just six months ago, 15 percent of buyers were signing such deals, which insurers offer when conditions are weaker.
Barclays said 30 percent of survey respondents expect their insurance rates to rise and another 40 percent expect flat rates.
It was nice while it lasted for risk managers, but the very nature of a cyclical market means that it couldn’t stay here forever. So now the options are likely to accept paying more for the same coverage or buckle down on loss control and raise your risk retention levels.
Either way, the market is unlikely to shift radically at either the mid-year or January 1 renewals (nor will the hardening apply monolithically across all coverage lines), so risk managers — particularly those who realize that insurance is just one way to way to transfer risk — should be able to adjust just fine.