NU Online News Service, Nov. 6, 9:28 a.m.EST

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The reductions in U.S. property and casualty insurance rates,which had been slowing, sped downward again last month, MarketScoutreported.

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"The October rate reversal does not bode well for those lookingforward to the end of the soft market. But maybe October was ananomaly...maybe," said a statement from Richard Kerr, the chiefexecutive officer of Dallas-based electronic insurance exchangeMarketScout.

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According to the firm's market barometer, the composite rate forp&c coverages reversed direction in October with a ratereduction of 5 percent as compared to a reduction of 4 percent forSeptember, breaking the "moderation trend."

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Said Mr. Kerr, "The U.S. property and casualty market is stillsoft; however, rates had been progressively moderating for the last21 months, trending from a reduction of minus 15 percent in January2008 to minus 4 percent in September 2009. During this period therewere no reversals in the composite rate."

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He noted that "for 21 months, the Market Barometer hasconsistently measured rates either down, or at least flat on amonth-to-month comparison As a result, insurance companies andintermediaries have been anxiously awaiting a month where we reportthe composite rate as zero with most insurance policies renewing'as expiring.'"

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The barometer found that general liability, property, inlandmarine, umbrella and employment practices liability rates were alldown even more in October than in September. By industry class,manufacturing accounts experienced the most aggressive ratereductions, down 6 percent.

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MarketScout said the National Alliance for Insurance Educationand Research conducted pricing surveys it used in its analysis ofmarket conditions.

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In other findings for coverage class, MarketScout said foursegments declined by 5 percent: commercial property, inland marine,umbrella/excess and workers' compensation. Only one line,commercial auto was down 4 percent.

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Five lines were down 3 percent: business interruption, businessowners policy, professional liability, EPLI and surety.

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By account size, those classed as small, up to $25,000, weredown 4 percent; medium accounts from $25,000 to $250,000 were down5 percent; large accounts, $250,001 to $1 million, were down 6percent and jumbo accounts over $1 million were down 5 percent.

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Among the industry class groupings, manufacturing was down 6percent; contracting and service were down 5 percent andhabitational, public entity, transportation and energy were alldown 4 percent.

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MarketScout says its exchange underwrites and distributeshundreds of product lines to an over 35,000-member agency networkacross the United States. Over 50 "A" rated carriers participate inthe MarketScout exchange platform at www.marketscout.com.

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