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Relief for businesses as rate rises ease

Commercial insurance prices in the Australia-dominated Pacific market were flat in the December quarter, extending last year’s slowdown.

Rate rises halted after a 1% increase in the third quarter, a 2% rise in the second and 7% in the first, according to Marsh.

The broker’s Global Insurance Market Index shows insureds are now “probably more likely to be in the driver’s seat rather than insurers”, Head of Global Placement Pacific Scott Eccleston told

Australian renewal price increases have gradually weakened after peaking at 35% in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Mr Eccleston says there is increased competition among incumbent insurers and new entrants, creating “certainly more favourable buying conditions” for insureds.

By business line, the Global Insurance Market Index shows property prices were flat in the December quarter, reflecting insurer competition and deployment of more capacity. However, loss-impacted and catastrophe-exposed accounts continued to experience price increases.

In the financial and professional lines class, rates decreased 5%, similar to the decline in the third quarter.

The drop reflected falls in directors’ and officers’ liability prices, with many clients experiencing decreases of 15% or more, Marsh says. Flat cyber rates in the December quarter also contributed to the downward pressure on financial and professional lines prices.

In the casualty class, increases slowed to 4% from 5% in the third quarter as insurers deployed new capacity and restructured programs.

Globally, commercial renewal rates increased 2% in the fourth quarter following a 3% rise in the third quarter.