Insurance News

Property/casualty insurance pricing stable going into 2012

Posted on: November 13, 2011

Most property/casualty insurance lines of business will experience fairly stable pricing into the new year, according to a report released Thursday by Willis Group Holdings P.L.C.

The annual report, “Marketplace Realities: Solid Footing and a Foundation for Growth,” noted that this year “may break all records for insured losses.” Even before the 2011 hurricane season began, the market had sustained $70 billion in property losses, according to the report. “We are on track to pierce the $100 billion mark for the first time,” the report said.

But the report projected that while prices for catastrophe-exposed property accounts could rise by as much as 12.5% in the first quarter of next year, those for noncatastrophe exposed property will be flat or even decrease by as much as 5%.

For primary casualty, excess/umbrella casualty, workers compensation and automobile liability, Willis projects pricing to be flat to 5% higher. But pricing for most executive risks will tend to be flat or slightly lower during the first quarter.

Following demand

“As in any successful industry, we go where the demand is,” said Willis Chairman and CEO Joe Plumeri in his introduction to the report. “The obvious place is in the growth areas of the world, particularly Asia. But demand for insurance and risk-related services may come from places we haven’t always looked for it in the past.”

He cited as examples some North American risks such as flood and terrorism that are backstopped by the government.

“The combination of government debt and poor growth may, in the not-so-distant future, spell a decline in the ability of government to maintain this role,” he wrote. “There is only one industry ready to fill the void.”

Copyright © 2011. Crain Communications, Inc.

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