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Brown & Brown CEO: Talk of coastal property rate hikes picks up after storms

Downward pressure on coastal property rates is moderating slightly, Brown & Brown Inc. President and CEO J. Powell Brown said on a third-quarter earnings conference call.

In the first quarter, coastal property rates were down in the range of 2% to 10% compared to the first quarter of 2016. In the second quarter, they were down 5% to 15% year over year.

The company saw coastal property rates down by 5% to 10% in the third quarter, but that was prior to recent storm activity.

"The recent storms, fires and earthquakes may have implications on pricing in 2018," Brown said, adding that while the company does not yet have a clear view about what the impact will be for next year, there is a "lot of discussion about rate increases for coastal properties."

Commercial and personal auto rates continued to increase in the third quarter, rising 1% to 5%, driven primarily by frequency of claims and distracted drivers. For most other lines, rates are generally flat.