Commercial lines insurers looking to the future may want to examine the commercial automobile insurance market. As commercial auto insurance is a highly fragmented market dominated by multi-line generalists and “multi-specialist groups,” it is indicative of the overall commercial lines insurance market, according to a new study by Conning Research & Consulting.

Commercial auto accounted for about 10% of the commercial premium and losses in 2009. While its results are important to the bottom line for many commercial insurers, it is also useful as a barometer for the commercial insurance environment, according to Conning’s study, “Commercial Automobile Insurance: The Multi-Specialty Road Ahead.” Trends can develop in commercial auto ahead of the broader commercial market because of its sensitivity to environmental conditions, such as the economy, and its relatively short-tailed loss development.

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