Double-digit rate decreases are nearing the end in transportation insurance, after a long stretch of declines. The market appears to be in a transitional phase as established transportation underwriters attempt to hold the line on rates for key business. While it is too early to tell, this may be encouraging news for commercial insurance agents and brokers nationwide because the transportation insurance market tends to act as a leading indicator of the direction of rates in the general commercial insurance market.

The recently published results of NIP Group's Transportation Insurance Pricing Survey (TIPS) provide statistics to support this theory. The survey (available at benchmarks changes in rates and availability in the transportation insurance market. Every quarter, TIPS questions the nation's leading transportation insurance brokers, wholesalers and underwriters representing thousands of accounts. Respondents provide detailed information about trends they see with the rates on their accounts based on size, transportation industry segment and coverage type.

TIPS results from the second quarter of 2009 indicate that rate decreases are starting to level off, with rates down on average between 1 and 10 percent. In addition, more participants have reported modest rate increases across several segments, account sizes and lines of coverage during the second quarter. New insurance carrier entrants also are gaining market share as established transportation underwriters try to hold the line on rates and are less likely to lower rates significantly below expiring levels.

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