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A.M. Best maintains negative outlook on commercial lines insurance

A.M. Best is keeping its negative outlook on the commercial lines segment of the U.S. P&C insurance industry for 2017 amid concerns that increasingly competitive market conditions will adversely impact results throughout the year.

The commercial lines segment is witnessing intense price competition, decreasing levels of favorable development of prior years' loss reserves and persistently low investment yields, A.M. Best said in a report.

The rating agency said most property lines of business continue to see rate cuts, and workers' compensation and general liability rates remain under pressure. Continuing elevated frequency and severity trends are challenging price adequacy for some companies, even as commercial automobile rate achievement remains well above the industry average. Companies that establish technical price and maintain underwriting criteria will be able to effectively manage the competitive market, it said.