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US Property-Casualty Market Hardening Continues in First Quarter: CIAB

2020 Upward Trend Shown with Red Marker on Line Drawn Graph
May 29, 2020

Commercial property-casualty insurance markets continued to harden in the first quarter of the year, with some lines seeing their largest increases since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers (CIAB).

The CIAB's quarterly Commercial Property-Casualty Market Survey found respondents reporting moderate-to-significant premium increases across all account sizes and lines of business except workers compensation.

As markets continued to harden, premium prices across all-sized accounts increased by an average of 9.6 percent in the first quarter, according to the CIAB, compared to an average increase of 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019. It was the 10th consecutive quarter of increased premiums by account size.

Large accounts felt the greatest impact during the year's first 3 months with an average premium increase of 12.6 percent, according to the CIAB. Medium accounts experienced average increases of 9.8 percent while the average increase for small accounts was 5.5 percent.

By line, pricing for umbrella coverage experienced the greatest increase in the first quarter, rising 17.3 percent. Commercial property premiums were up 12.0 percent, while commercial auto prices rose for the 35th consecutive quarter, increasing an average of 9.6 percent, the CIAB said.

"We are now in the midst of a hard market, premium increased steadily for 10 consecutive quarters," Ken A. Crerar, the CIAB's president and CEO, said in a statement. "Umbrella, commercial property, and commercial auto were the hardest hit, with umbrella and commercial property seeing double-digit increases—the largest since 9/11. Additionally, the uncertainty around COVID-19 put additional strain on the industry in the latter half of March. Respondents noted the current pandemic affected [insurers'] ability to collect premium and the availability of coverage by the end of Q1."

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