Pricing in commercial lines markets has risen 5 percent on average in Q4 2012, according to The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers’ quarterly “Commercial P/C Market Index Survey.” That compares with a 3.9-percent-average-price increase in Q3 2012, across small, medium and large accounts.

“I think you can characterize the fourth quarter as more of the same,” said Ken Crerar, president and CEO of the Council. “Carriers were still cautious about the risks they were putting on their books and pushed for price increases where they could get them.”

The survey summarized market sentiment thusly: “Underwriters looked carefully at their potential loss exposures, and in some cases were willing to walk away rather than get caught short.”

MarketScout’s recent rate index revealed similar growth. But The Council’s report also highlighted an erratic end of the year for workers’ comp.

The workers’ compensation market was described as “crashing” in the words of one Northeast broker, as prices escalated 30-to-50 percent, mostly on large accounts, and some carriers were not interested in writing workers’ compensation accounts, according to a broker in the Midwest. Other brokers indicated that monoline coverage was harder to find.

According to the survey, catastrophe-prone property also was also tough to write. “Sandy brought flood back under the microscope, and carriers scrutinized coverage harder and cut flood limits,” said a broker in the Southeast.

In the Northeast, where Superstorm Sandy caused the most damage in the United States, carriers decreased CAT limits, such as flood and wind, and increased deductibles for both. Brokers across the country reported similar stories for vulnerable property.

Many carriers asked for percentage wind/hail deductibles, and some have decreased property exposures. “Carriers didn’t want an account that was running a high loss ratio,” said a broker in the southwest.

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