Ask participants in the Commercial Auto market to characterize the current state of that line and they're likely to respond with one word: "Challenging." They cite highly competitive pricing, more distracted driving and increasing frequency and severity of medical claims for current market conditions.

"You have an increase in miles driven, and that's been a trend over recent years," says Tony Fenton, vice president, commercial lines underwriting, Middle Market & Segments, with Nationwide Insurance. "You have a phenomenon of distracted driving pushing into the behavior on the road and, then, also some medical cost inflation continuing to push forward."

It's also a "highly unpredictable" market from a business perspective, says Steve Shepard, transportation underwriting manager with Burns & Wilcox in Indianapolis, Ind. A few years ago, Shepard says, he could look at a piece of business and provide a realistic estimate of the coverage pricing, but it's very difficult to do that now. "You can take what you would think would be two very similar risks on paper, but if you put them both into the same system, you can come out with drastic differences on rate," he adds.

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Ed transitioned from wealth management to freelance writing and has written for many of the financial service industry’s leading publications. These include Bloomberg Wealth Manager, CFA Magazine, Institutional Investor online, Financial Planning, Journal of Accountancy and the Journal of Financial Planning. He has published three books, including his most recent textbook, "Foundations of Computational Finance with MATLAB.” Ed has written numerous print and web articles for custom publishers and many of the largest U.S. and international financial services firms; he holds the Certified Financial Planner and Retirement Income Certified Professional designations. His most recent articles are listed at