Cat losses push global property rates sharply higher in first quarter

Global commercial insurance prices rose in the first quarter, driven by property rates, according to the latest Global Insurance Market Index from Marsh.

Following four and a half years of price falls, that was the second consecutive quarter of price increases, Marsh said.

The increase was largely driven by property insurance pricing, which continued to be affected by 2017 catastrophe losses and increases in financial and professional lines.

Overall prices rose by 1%, with property prices up 3% on average. Financial and professional lines pricing increased approximately 2% on average in the quarter, driven by increases in the UK, Latin America and Australia. Casualty pricing declined by nearly 2% on average.

Most regions showed either a moderate increase in pricing in the first quarter, or a lessening of the pace of decrease. The one exception was Asia, which had a greater decrease compared to the previous quarter.

Commenting on the findings, Dean Klisura, president, global placement and specialties at Marsh, said: “The impact of catastrophe losses last year continued to impact property insurance prices in the US and elsewhere. However, overall market capacity remains strong with pricing decreases continuing in many regions for lines of business less affected by losses.”