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Commercial Soft Market Losing Steam While Uncertainty Clouds Future, Lockton Reports

Posted on 05 May 2011

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A new report on the commercial insurance market in the Lockton Market Update shows that the broad soft market of recent years is losing some steam while uncertainty is clouding the future. 

Property Insurance Market
Lockton's report cautions that aftershocks from earthquakes in the Asia Pacific region and new catastrophe models create an uncertain environment for property insurance buyers.

Casualty Insurance Market
For casualty insurance buyers, Lockton reports that the past several months have seen a marked increase in uncertainty in the U.S. casualty insurance market.  The soft market, while still dominant, has generally lost some of its steam, and a harder market is forming in limited pockets.

Financial and Executive Risk
The soft insurance market continued last year and into this year. Many insurers are willing to write management liability policies at very competitive rates. It is still possible to achieve premium decreases for many companies. Lockton reports that despite worsening claims experience, insurers have been under pressure to lower premiums and broaden coverage in the current soft market. The D&O insurance market has also seen a number of new entrants recently.

Employee Benefits
On-site clinics are currently the rage as a potential "easy button" for employers looking for ways to reduce rising healthcare expenses.  But Lockton's report cautions, "Not so fast."

The Lockton Market Update also reports on changes in the new health reform law and changes in pharmacy pricing that will require clear-eyed scrutiny from employers.   

Political and Credit Risk
With the prospect of potentially prolonged instability in the Middle East and North Africa, the market for terrorism and political risk is in some turmoil and will take some time to settle, Lockton Market Update says.  The volume of claims for political violence-related losses coming into the market has been limited thus far, but some insurers have increased political violence premiums by up to 25 percent for clients with exposures in the Middle East and North Africa.

Lockton reports that surety carriers are cautious about the economic environment and the condition of contractors.  Therefore, contractors with strong credit will find sureties flush with capacity and willing to offer competitive terms. Contractors with lackluster performance and weak balance sheets will find sureties unmotivated and unforgiving.

The Lockton Market Update includes snapshots of 25 commercial insurance and employee benefits markets with the latest trends facing risk managers, chief financial officers, human resource leaders, and other executives. 

To obtain free copies of these reports please visit