Commercial-lines agents and brokers say pricing continued to moderate in the fourth quarter, a trend seen throughout 2013, according to the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers’ latest quarterly pricing survey.
Pricing was up on average by 2.1% in 2013’s fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter, CIAB says. In the third quarter, rates were up by 3.4% over rates in the second quarter. Rates icreased by 4.3% in the second quarter and by 5.2% in the first quarter.
Small accounts saw the steepest increases in the fourth quarter, at 2.6%. In the third quarter, small accounts increased by 3.8%. Medium accounts saw fourth-quarter increases of 2.4%, compared to 3.7% in the third quarter, and large accounts were up by 1.4% in the fourth quarter compared to 2.6% in the third.
Workers’ compensation risks experienced the greatest increases, at 4.9%, although CIAB notes that brokers’ experiences varied “depending on location and circumstances.” California, CIAB notes, saw “fairly significant rate increases” in workers’ comp.
Surety bonds increased the least, at 0.9%, followed by commercial-property at 2.1%. Sixteen percent of commercial property risks experienced rate decreases in the quarter, according to the survey, the most of any line.
Ken A. Crerar, CIAB president and CEO, says, “We didn’t see any significant changes in the last quarter, which is not surprising. Underwriting seems to have remained disciplined.”
He adds that new capacity “helped dampen pricing a bit last quarter,” and that, combined with low catastrophe exposures, “added up to a more stable pricing environment overall.”
Agents and brokers also say carriers’ appetite for new business was healthy and aggressive in the fourth quarter, CIAB says.