NU Online News Service, Aug. 26, 1:52 p.m. EDT

Insurance rate reductions for the transportation industry are decreasing, on average, between 1 and 10 percent for the second quarter, and small increases are being seen, according to a brokerage firm’s poll.

The findings were contained in NIP Group Inc.’s “Transportation Insurance Pricing Survey,” which is used to benchmark availability and rates in the transportation insurance market.

Woodbridge, N.J.-based NIP said its survey was issued to leading transportation insurance brokers, wholesalers and underwriters representing thousands of account placements.

NIP, a transportation insurance broker, said modest rate increases can now be seen across many segments, account sizes and lines of coverage, continuing a trend reported in NIP Group’s 2009 first-quarter TIPS.

The broker said a majority of respondents “believe rates in the transportation insurance market are beginning to level out as observed by the slight firming of auto liability and motor truck cargo rates. Rate increases have also begun to emerge in some market segments, especially ambulance/paratransit, airport ground transporters and specialized carriers.”

According to the survey, large accounts, with over $250,000 in premium, are continuing to see the sharpest rate decreases. Results showed nearly 43 percent of respondents are seeing decreases over 10 percent for large accounts, and over 66 percent are continuing to see decreases overall for large accounts.

The survey also showed that new entrants are gaining market share as established carriers are less willing to compete on price if rates get too low. Over 50 percent of respondents said they are seeing more insurers underwriting the transportation class.

NIP Group included the following lines in its survey:

o Trucking operations

o Messenger/courier services

o School bus contractors

o Airport ground transportation

o Specialized carriers and riggers

o Intermodal carriers

o Ambulance/paratransit

o Bulk transpiration

o Charter/tour bus operators

o Limousine services