Second Quarter Sees 1% rise in Commercial Lines Rates

Closer attention to underwriting and losses has led to premium increases averaging 1% in the second quarter of 2017, continuing an upward trend this year. The transportation sector, most notably auto-related exposures, is seeing the highest increases, up to 4%, according to a report released today by MarketScout.

“We now have two consecutive quarters of composite rate premium increases. Insurers are adjusting pricing as they should, based upon losses incurred, expense loads and targeted returns on equity,” Richard Kerr, CEO and Founder of MarketScout said in a statement.

By account size, organizations smaller to medium-size saw the highest premium increases. Small accounts (under $25,000 premium) increased from up 1% to up 2%, medium accounts ($25,001 – $250,000) went from flat to plus 1%, large accounts ($250,001 – $1 million) were unchanged and jumbo accounts (more than $1 million) were down 1% compared to a drop of 2% the prior quarter.
By coverage class, commercial property and inland marine adjusted from down 1% in the first quarter, to up 1% in the second quarter. Commercial auto rates rose from up 3% to up 4%. EPLI also went from up 1% to up 2%. Fiduciary adjusted downward to flat or no increase compared to up 1% in the prior quarter. All other coverage classifications were unchanged from the previous quarter, according to the report.
By industry class, public entity rates moderated from up 1% to flat. Transportation risks experienced slightly lower rate increases with second quarter rates up 4% compared to 5% first quarter.

First Quarter 2017 Sees Upward Rate Movement

U.S. insurance buyers may see higher rates this year, as the composite rate index for commercial accounts increased plus 1% for the first time in 20 months, MarketScout reported today.

Rates for business interruption, inland marine, workers compensation, crime, and surety coverages held steady in the first quarter, while rates for all other coverages either moderated or increased.

“The plus 1% composite rate index was driven by larger rate increases in commercial auto, transportation, professional and D&O rates,” Richard Kerr, CEO of MarketScout said in a statement. “We also recorded small rate increases in the majority of coverage and industry classifications. So, 2017 begins with insurers moving away from the rate cuts of 2016.”

Small accounts (up to $25,000) were assessed a 1% rate increase in the first quarter of 2017. Medium accounts ($25,001 to $250,000) were flat, while both large ($250,001 to $1 million) and jumbo accounts (more than $1 million) saw rate decreases of minus 1% and minus 2% respectively, MarketScout said.

By industry class, every industry experienced a move toward higher rates in the first quarter, with transportation seeing the largest rate increase at plus 5%.

2016 Ends with 1% Average Rate Reduction

The year ended with few surprises in commercial insurance pricing in the United States, after 2016 started out with a composite rate decrease of 4%. In ms-barometerApril, rates began to moderate and continued reductions of 1% to 2% per month. The year closed with a composite rate reduction of 1%, according to MarketScout.

While the soft market has been going for 16 months, that period seems longer because for the first eight months of 2016, the composite rate was flat to plus 1% before dropping into negative territory, MarketScout said.

“We have been tracking commercial property and casualty rates since 2001. Generally, the soft or hard market cycles last at least three years,” Richard Kerr, CEO of MarketScout, said in a statement. “We expect more moderate rate reductions for the coming year for all but a few lines of business.” An increase in interest rates could accelerate rate reductions, he added.

By coverage classification, commercial property moderated in December, from down 3% to down 2%. Workers’ compensation rates dropped from down 1% to down 2%. EPLI and crime were the only coverages that saw rate increases—both lines of coverage went up by 1% to up 2%. The composite rate for all other coverages was unchanged.
ms-coverage-class

By account size, there were no changes from November to December 2016.
ms-account-size

By industry classification, contractors adjusted from down 1% to flat. Transportation accounts saw ongoing rate increases across the board, jumping from up 3% in November to up 5% in December.
ms-industry-class

November Composite Rate -1%, Up From -2% in October

The November composite rate for insurers in the United States moved from minus 2% to minus 1% in November, with commercial insurance seeing the largest increases, barometeraccording to MarketScout.

“The most notable coverage classification with an ongoing consistent rate increase is commercial auto at plus 3%,” said MarketScout CEO Richard Kerr. “The commercial auto classification includes all types of commercial vehicles. Not surprisingly, the most notable industry classification with an ongoing consistent rate increase was transportation, also at plus 3%.”

The transportation classification includes trucking, hauling, buses, “and most anything with wheels,” he said. Railroads and aviation are not included in the transportation class.

“Underwriters have long struggled with commercial auto, many writing the coverage only to capture the related casualty lines such as workers compensation, general liability and excess. Many insurers consider commercial auto as a loss leader,” Kerr said.

By coverage classification, from October to November, property was down from minus 2% to minus 3%, business owners policies (BOPs) were up 1% compared to down 1%, auto was up 3% from up 2% and D&O was up 1% from flat.

coverage-1

By premium size, small accounts (up to $25,000) were flat in November compared to down 1% in October. Medium accounts ($25,001 to $250,000) were down 1% in November compared to down 2% in October. Large accounts ($250,001 to $1,000) saw more aggressive pricing, with rates down more in November (minus 2%) compared to October (minus 1%). Jumbo accounts (over $1 million) remained stable at minus 2%.
account-size-2

Insurers reversed their rate reductions for the contracting and service industries, moderating rate reductions from minus 2% in October to minus 1% in November. Manufacturing rates were flat in November compared to down 1% in October, MarketScout said.
industry-class-3