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P/C Rates to Remain Soft for 2008

Posted on 16 Nov 2007

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According to Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a leading global consulting firm, U.S. property and casualty insurance premiums will either decline or stay flat versus this year's levels in 2008.

"Strong competition is forcing insurers to lower their premiums or, at the very least, hold them stable," said Orin Linden, who runs Watson Wyatt's insurance and financial services consulting group in New York. "It's clearly a buyer's market."

Rates for casualty insurance, which covers businesses and individuals against legal losses, may decline as much as 5 percent to 10 percent next year, said Watson Wyatt, which provides statistical information to businesses worldwide.

Rates for property insurance coverage will be mostly flat, although some buyers may see a slight reduction.
Rates have declined in each of the last few years for both property and casualty insurance coverage because of strong profits throughout the industry, Watson Wyatt said.

Property damages from catastrophes such as hurricanes have also gone down since 2005, when the industry suffered nearly $70 billion in losses from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

Other types of insurance, including workers' compensation, directors' and officers' liability, and reinsurance are also expected to experience soft market conditions, Watson Wyatt said.

About Watson Wyatt Worldwide

Watson Wyatt is the trusted business partner to the world’s leading organizations on people and financial issues. The firm’s global services include: managing the cost and effectiveness of employee benefit programs; developing attraction, retention and reward strategies; advising pension plan sponsors and other institutions on optimal investment strategies; providing strategic and financial advice to insurance and financial services companies; and delivering related technology, outsourcing and data services. Watson Wyatt has 7,000 associates in 31 countries.