Commercial rates in the Pacific region, where Australia is the biggest market, recorded the strongest increase of 23% in the first quarter, according to the latest quarterly pricing report from Marsh.
Last quarter’s growth, as measured by the Global Insurance Market index, was the largest year-on-year increase since 2012 when the price tracking monitor was created.
Marsh expects subsequent updates will provide a better picture of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a pandemic in March by the World Health Organisation.
“Pricing was trending higher in the first quarter, prior to any meaningful impact from losses associated with COVID-19,” Marsh President for Global Placement and Advisory Services Dean Klisura said. “However, COVID-19 will likely have an impact on pricing for the balance of 2020.”
In the Pacific region, financial and professional liability pricing rose 33%, marking 11 straight quarters of double-digit increments.
The long-running factors that have caused prices to harden significantly in the last few years, such as growing class action claims, continue to strain capacity as insurers’ appetite for the risk remains weak.
“Conditions remained consistent with prior quarters,” Marsh said. “Side C-exposed listed companies experienced the largest increases, sometimes greater than 100%.”
Property pricing went up 23%, with double-digit hikes reported for catastrophe and non-catastrophe risks in Australia and New Zealand. Part of the rate surge was driven by last summer’s horror bushfire season and a number of massive floods in December and January.
Casualty rates were up 8%, up slightly from 6% in the previous quarter. Pricing for some risks ranged from 10-20%, Marsh said.
On a global scale, financial and professional liability pricing had the sharpest rise of 26%, followed by property on 15% and casualty on 5%.
Pricing in the UK market surged 21%, which was the second highest after the Pacific region. US rates jumped 14%, continental Europe 8% while Asia and the combined Latin America and Caribbean region saw increases of 6%.
Blog Submission: Peter Sellwood
PALTD InsureRight – Insurance & Risk Management
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