And so the soft market continues to slither on. Premium and corresponding rates for all lines of commercial property/casualty business in the United States were down 4% in April, mirroring a steady trend throughout the beginning of 2010, according to the latest MarketScout Market Barometer.

To that end, most lines of coverage reflected rates similar to the prior month, with no unusual changes, MarketScout found.

However, Richard Kerr, the electronic insurance exchange's CEO, expects pricing for energy coverage to rise.

"Energy premiums are going to increase, especially for offshore accounts," he said in the report. "The disaster suffered by British Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico is huge and will have an immediate impact on all offshore energy placements."

Kerr said in the statement that British Petroleum is largely self-insured, but energy underwriters across the globe will participate in this loss via either excess placements, insurance on the non-operators (investors), drilling contractor or blowout prevention manufacturer. The non-operators and drilling contractor, he added, have extensive insurance placements.

"It may take years to calculate the total insured loss from this disaster but premiums will increase immediately for offshore energy accounts," Kerr continued. "Also, even though onshore insureds may feel they should not suffer because of offshore losses, they too could be impacted. Many onshore insurers have some offshore exposure and may try to capture rate increases across the board."

MarketScout broke down the April 2010 rates by coverage, industry class and account size.

By Coverage Class

•    Commercial Property — Down 4%

•    Business Interruption — Down 3%

•    BOP — Down 2%

•    Inland Marine — Down 3%

•    General Liability — Down 6%

•    Umbrella/Excess — Down 3%

•    Commercial Auto — Down 3%

•    Workers' Compensation — Down 3%

•    Professional Liability — Down 2%

•    D&O Liability — Down 1%

•    EPLI — Down 1%

•    Fiduciary — Down 1%

•    Crime — Down 1%

•    Surety — Down 1%

By Industry Class

•    Manufacturing — Down 4%

•    Contracting — Down 4%

•    Service — Down 5%

•    Habitational — Down 3%

•    Public Entity — Down 3%

•    Transportation — Down 3%

•    Energy — Down 2%

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