Par for the course

Rates in the US commercial insurance market remained flat during the first quarter of 2018 with slight increases in the face of the worst insured catastrophe year on record adding further fuel to the belief that the cyclical marketplace may be consigned to the past. There were few surprises for the market during 2018's first quarter, with the average rate increase for commercial auto, workers' compensation, commercial property, general liability and umbrella coverages roughly 2.2% for the first quarter of the year according to a survey from the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB). Rates for commercial auto business increased the most by 7.7%, while those for workers' compensation coverage decreased by 2%, a continuation of previous trends. This marked the 27th quarterly increase in rates for commercial auto coverage as continued poor loss ratios drove premium pricing. One respondent to the CIAB’s survey cited alternative capital, which flooded the space following last year’s disasters, as one cause for the timid rate increases. Since 1999, average quarterly premium changes have reached as high as 28.5% following particularly bad disaster years. In the cyber market, demand continued to soar, with 79% of respondents reporting a rise in demand, compared with the previous quarter, although there was no increase in premium rates as the market remains competitive. Demand for flood coverage was also up, with 64% of brokers reporting a rise in demand following last year’s extensive flood losses across the US. Underwriting capacity for both commercial auto and commercial property was down, with 57.4% and 30.2% of respondents reporting some decrease in capacity respectively. This was the result of the poor loss scenario in the commercial auto space, and the impact of last year’s disasters on the commercial property sector. Roughly 42% of those surveyed saw an increase in capacity for cyber, and 30% saw similar for workers' compensation business.

Blurred image of Reactions article content
Blurred image of Reactions article related content