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Workers’ compensation and commercial auto risks saw the steepest rate increases in January at +4% compared to the same month in 2013, but the commercial-lines market overall continued its moderating trend, according to MarketScout research summarized in PropertyCasualty 360. MarketScout officially listed January’s composite rate at +3%, the same as December, but CEO Richard Kerr notes, “If we were to post rate changes by fractional increments, you would see the actual increase at 2.55 percent, so the moderation trend continues.”

Recapping the previous year, MarketScout notes that 2013 began with a composite rate increase of +5 percent, moderated slightly in July,;ended up at +3 percent at year-end. For January, Kerr says, “Rates for five coverage classes declined 1% as compared to one year ago. No coverage classifications had a rate increase. By account size, half the accounts measured enjoyed premium reductions of 1%. By industry class, four out of seven were down 1%.” He explains, “Additional capacity, insurance-linked securities and a more stable economic environment (despite recent stock-market adjustments) are partly responsible for the moderating rate environment.”

Both workers’ comp and commercial auto saw 4% rate increases. BOP, general liability and umbrella/excess rates were up 3%. Commercial property, business interruption, professional liability and D&O rates were up 2%. Inland marine, EPLI, fiduciary, crime and surety risks all increased by 1%. Small accounts saw the steepest rate increases at 4%, medium accounts were up 3%, large accounts up 2% and jumbo accounts up 1%. By industry, risks in manufacturing, contracting, service and transportation all saw 4% rate increases. Habitational risks were up 3%, public entity and energy risks were up 2%.

Personal lines rates also moderated in January, up by 2% year-over-year compared to 3% in December. Kerr says, “2013 was a good year for personal lines insurers. We expect continued aggressive pricing, but that will be geographically modified as appropriate. Coastal homeowners continue to enjoy competitive rates because of the lack of windstorm activity in 2013, despite Superstorm Sandy.” For January, he adds, “Homes under $1 million in value were assessed a 2% increase, while high-value homes paid an additional 4%. Both metrics were down 1 percentage point from December 2013.” Automobile and personal articles were both increased by 2%, a slight reduction for personal articles and the same rate for automobile.