For the fourth time, and across every line of business, commercial insurance prices rose in aggregate by almost 7 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012. That was the eighth-consecutive quarter of price increases, according to the latest “Commercial Lines Insurance Pricing Survey (CLIPS)” from Towers Watson.

“Price increases taken in 2012 will push 2013 loss ratios down, assuming moderate loss inflation,” said Tom Hettinger, Towers Watson’s Property & Casualty sales and practice leader for the Americas.

The year-over-year increases were slight, Towers Watson said, indicating that the price acceleration observed since the start of 2011 has moderated. Except for specialty lines, where the survey indicated larger gains than those reported in the third quarter, price changes generally were consistent with those from the previous survey.

The largest year-over-year price increases were in worker compensation and employment practices liability, which both had near-double digit increases. Most commercial lines increases were in the mid-to upper-single digits, and all lines-of-business increased 3 percent or more.

All standard commercial accounts experienced higher prices; prices for specialty lines rose at a slower rate than those of standard lines.

Historical loss cost changes pointed to a 4 percent improvement or more in loss ratios for accident-year 2012, compared to 2011 excluding catastrophes, and earned-price increases offset reported claim-cost inflation, which reversed the 3 percent deterioration from 2010 to 2011.

Claim cost inflation estimates were 1 percent for 2012, the second-lowest inflation estimate reported since 2005.

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