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Contact: Brianne Spellane
Director of Communications & Content Strategy


WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 30, 2017 – Rates continued to decline for the 11th straight quarter, according to The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers’ Q3 (July 1-September 30) 2017 Commercial P/C Market Survey. Results, compiled from broker members from across the country, were released today.

“2017 has turned out to be a historic year for natural catastrophes, however the true impact within the commercial p/c market has yet to crystallize,” said Ken A. Crerar, President/CEO of The Council. “We will certainly be eager to analyze the results of the upcoming Q4 2017 and Q1 2018 surveys which should portray the impact these catastrophes had.”

Third quarter rates still witnessed a decline across all sized accounts, coming in at a reduction of  -1.3 percent, compared to -2.8 percent decrease in Q2 2017. However, it is important to note that the decrease is half the decrease of last quarter and the smallest decrease since Q1 2015. The largest decrease of 2.1 percent was seen in large accounts compared to a 1.2 percent decrease for medium accounts and 0.5 percent for small accounts.

In contrast, the average premium across five major lines of business, including Commercial Auto, Workers’ Compensation, Commercial Property, General Liability and Umbrella, increased for the first time in 11 quarters by 0.97 percent. This increase, however, was driven by the tightening Commercial Auto line, a steady trend throughout the past 25 quarters.

Fifty-nine (59) percent of surveyed brokers reported that the number of Flood claims increased during Q3 2017. This increase in Flood claims was distributed unevenly across U.S. regions, with the Southeast and Midwest accounting for more than half (53 percent) of total increase. With the country’s focus on hurricane damage in Texas and Florida, these statistics showed that there were other states that were seriously impacted during the 2017 CAT season.

“Across the country, the survey found an average of 15.8 percent of all claims received during the third quarter were related to the hurricanes,” said Crerar.

Unsurprisingly, brokers said clients were actively inquiring about their existing or potential coverage for flood, wind and business interruption. Across the country, 86 percent of surveyed brokers received inquiries such as: How do you know the difference between wind-driven rain vs. rising water? How do deductibles work for CAT perils?

Respondents also reported that a small portion of existing clients, 6.2 percent, added flood coverage to their existing commercial policies and that underwriting practices remained similar to that of last quarter, except for two newer trends taking hold: automated underwriting for small accounts and tightened underwriting for commercial auto.

Click here for the Executive Summary.