The April 2013 U.S. composite rate index for property, casualty and professional liability business was plus-5 percent, the same as March, while personal lines rates increased 3 percent, down one percentage point from March, according to Marketscout’s monthly pricing index.

Among commercial lines, medium accounts saw the biggest increases (7 percent); jumbo accounts slipped to a 3-percent increase from 5 percent last month. Manufacturing saw the biggest increase by industry class (7 percent). And commercial property and workers’ compensation saw the biggest increases by coverage class, 6 percent respectively, with commercial auto, umbrella/excess and BOP each seeing rates jump up 5 percent.

Personal lines increases were more marginal, down from 4 percent in March to 3 percent in April.

Homeowners with more than $1 million in value saw slightly higher rate increases (4 percent), otherwise, the rates were consistent for home, auto and personal article policyholders. According to Richard Kerr, CEO of MarketScout, “The spring storms have not yet hit and flooding usually occurs a bit later in the year, so, absent an earthquake, April is typically a pretty good month.”

Speaking on the continued growth of commercial rates, Kerr said, “For the rest of 2013, we expect some months with lower composite increases than prior months but the general direction of rates will be upward.” Before adding: “The recent movements by Berkshire Hathaway could affect the market if the plan is to enter the primary property and casualty market in a meaningful way.”

Kerr explained, “No one other than Berkshire and the crew of executives who just departed AIG know for sure what the Berkshire plan includes. Original speculation was they would be building a large non-admitted insurer. Some insurance company executives now speculate Berkshire may also have plans to launch a new multi-line admitted underwriting company. If the plan is to start a large E&S company, it could have an impact on pricing. If the plan includes an admitted primary market strategy, rates in that area could be impacted as well.”

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