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MarketScout: US commercial P&C rate declines moderate, personal lines rates climb in April

U.S. commercial P&C insurance composite rate declined 2%on average in April, compared with a 3% drop in , according to MarketScout.

MarketScout CEO Richard Kerr said the change could signal a shiftin sentiment with rates moderating just after seven months into a soft market.

"This soft market may be limited in length andseverity. A limited soft market would be a bit surprising noting the currentample market capacity; however, more sophisticated underwriting tools seem tobe limiting market swings," Kerr said.

By coverage classification, commercial property andprofessional liability had the biggest decline at 3%, followed by businessinterruption, business owners' policy, umbrella/excess and directors andofficers liability at 2%. Inland marine, commercial auto, workers'compensation, fiduciary and surety fell 1%. General liability, employmentpractices liability insurance and crime were flat.

Jumbo accounts of more than $1 million, large accounts witha premium of $250,001 to $1 million and medium accounts of $25,001 to $250,000had rate reductions of 2%. Small accounts of up to $25,000 dropped 1%.

MarketScout reported that personal lines composite rateclimbed 1% in April. Kerr said the increase was either due to rising flood andhailstorm losses or it was just an aberration.

Premiums for homeowners insurance for homes more than $1million in value were flat. Premiums for homes under $1 million in value rose1%. Rates for automobile insurance and personal articles both increased 1%.