Commercial motor premiums are set to increase by up to 50%, and any company running a motor fleet with a poor claims experience should brace itself for a heavy rate rise this year.

That is according to the latest market predictions from Bland Bankart, a top 50 UK broker. With November renewals now in full swing, the company anticipates a minimum commercial rate increase of 20% for the coming year but says this could go as high as 50% for some firms.

"Although competition continues to be fierce, motor insurers are taking the view that unless they are making a profit, they would prefer not to insure," said Bland Bankart chairman Philip Bland.

He also said that private car premiums were set to rise by up to 15%. "Over the last few years, motor insurance premiums have become far too low due to severe competition, and insurance companies see an urgent need for premiums to be increased," he added.

Broker representative body Biba is broadly in agreement saying that motor insurers will increase premiums by a minimum of ten per cent over the next few months. According to its research, nine out of ten brokers believe rates will soon rise.

A survey of brokers carried out by the association also finds that home buildings and contents rates will also rise. The association has embarked on a consumer awareness campaign aimed at promoting brokers at a time of hardening rates.