Commercial insurance premium rates continue their downward slide, but there were indications the market decline is leveling off, according to a survey taken before the financial crisis deepened.

The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers released its third-quarter 2008 Commercial P-C Market Index Survey today saying that for small and midsize accounts, there are suggestions that pricing leveled off during the third quarter.

But the fourth quarter may tell a different story, the CIAB suggested, because the survey was taken at the beginning of October, so the financial crisis and the near collapse of insurance giant American International Group were not reflected in the findings.

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