Commercial property & casualty business is suffering from excess capacity in the hunt for market share, resulting in another quarter of declining renewal pricing, according to The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers’  second quarter Commercial P/C Market Index Survey. On average, renewal rates dropped by about 6% in the second quarter, compared with a 5% decrease in the first quarter of 2010, notes CIAB.

“It’s the same old story,” said Council President Ken Crerar. “Carriers continue to fight aggressively for new business as capacity flows into the market. It’s like someone forgot to turn off the spigot. No one seems to know when the reservoir will dry up, but in the meantime, it’s definitely a buyers’ market.”

Commercial renewal pricing for small, medium and large business accounts continued to decline in the second quarter, compared with the first quarter of the year. Large account rate declines were again slightly more than the other accounts, but pricing for all account sizes was soft, according to The Council’s survey data. All individual commercial lines included in the survey experienced rate decreases, compared with the previous quarter.

Commercial lines buyers found more than just pricing deals last quarter, as survey respondents point to how carriers view terms and conditions, according to survey comments. “Carriers are open to improving deductibles, terms and conditions in hopes of being able to keep premium flat,” said one respondent. Another broker saw “lower deductibles, broader coverage terms, more liberal terms.” Still another remarked that there are “generally broader terms, no additional restrictions in coverage,” notes the CIAB report.

Demand, on the other hand, remained unchanged from first to second quarter, the brokers noted in the report. Only 26% of those surveyed said demand was up – about the same response as in the first quarter.

Brokers participating in the CIAB survey pointed to the economy and credit crisis as the continuing top concern, notes the report.

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