U.S. commercial insurance prices stayed virtually flat in the 2017 third quarter, the ninth straight quarter where this has happened, according to a new Willis Towers Watson survey.

Prices averaged less than 1 percent higher during Q3, according to the firm’s most recent Commercial Lines Insurance Pricing survey. (CLIPS)

Workers compensation and directors & officers liability saw “material price decreases,” according to the survey, but price declines for commercial property moderated with only a slight decrease, the survey said.

Commercial auto continues to be the big exception, and the line experienced “meaningful price increases” that “appear to be accelerating,” according to the CLIPS report.

Most other lines saw price changes in the lower single digits, with positive price changes coming from small accounts, and flat results from mid-market and large accounts, according to Willis Towers Watson.

In September, Willis Towers Watson suggested that Hurricane Harvey could reverse the trend of nearly flat commercial insurance prices that has continued since 2015. Since then, the industry has been faced with claims stemming from Hurricanes Irma, Maria, two Mexico earthquakes and other natural catastrophe events, and many are predicting 2018 rate hikes for reinsurers and insurers alike.

CLIPS data is generated from both new and renewal business figures obtained directly from carriers underwriting the business, Willis Towers Watson said. CLIPS participants are U.S. P/C insurers that includes many of the top 10 commercial lines companies and the top 25 insurance groups in the U.S. The latest Survey compared prices charged on policies written in Q3 2017 with the same period in 2016. For the most recent survey, 39 participating insurers representing approximately 20% of the U.S. commercial insurance market (excluding state workers compensation funds) contributed data.

Source: Willis Towers Watson