Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content


Unyielding Soft Market Continues to Chisel Away at Insurance Premiums, According to RIMS Benchmark Survey™ 4/15/2010

Risk managers are benefitting from lower premiums, but looming catastrophe losses could portend a turn in the market.

NEW YORK (April 15, 2010) — Now in its seventh year, the soft market shows few signs of loosening its grip on commercial insurance pricing, according to the RIMS Benchmark Survey™, administered by Advisen Ltd. Average premiums in every line tracked by the Survey fell in the first quarter. However, forecasts for an above-average hurricane season may signal rising premiums on the horizon.
“Insurance capacity is abundant throughout the commercial lines market, but the lingering impact of the global recession has reduced the demand for that capacity,” said Dave Bradford, Advisen executive vice president. “Abundant capacity coupled with diminished demand keeps downward pressure on rates. As things now stand, insurance buyers can anticipate another year of favorable insurance prices, although catastrophe claims always are a wild card in the pricing cycle.”

As has been the case throughout much of the soft market phase, general liability was the most competitive line during the quarter, with the average premium falling 4.4 percent. The average property premium, which had been essentially flat over the past several quarters, fell 2.9 percent. The average workers compensation premium was down 2.0 percent, and average directors and officers liability (D&O) premium was off 1.1 percent. D&O average premium had been flat to slightly higher throughout 2009 due to rate increases in the financial institution sector, but those increases now have abated.

“Rate levels are down, but insurers nonetheless posted good results in 2009,” said Robert Cartwright, loss prevention manager for Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. and a member of the RIMS Board of Directors.  “As a result, underwriters have not been highly motivated to push for higher premiums. That certainly is good news for risk managers. Forecasters are calling for an active hurricane season this year, though. Large catastrophe losses could cause prices to increase across the board.”

Colorado State University hurricane forecasters are calling for 15 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes in 2010.

While risk managers and other commercial insurance buyers are benefitting from lower premiums, insurance brokers are suffering from the double whammy of lower rates and reduced premiums levels resulting from the lingering effects of the recession. Much of brokers’ revenue is tied directly to the volume of premium placed with insurers.  Some types of insurance policies calculate premiums based on factors such payroll and revenue, which have fallen substantially as an outcome of the recession. Workers compensation premium volume, which is based principally on payroll, has been particularly hard-hit by the economic downturn. Consequently, many brokers have been forced to streamline operations and reduce headcount to maintain profitability.

About The RIMS Benchmark SurveyTM
RIMS Benchmark Survey™ is produced by Advisen, Ltd., which collects and analyzes the data and provides the technology infrastructure for the survey’s online services. Risk managers and buyers of insurance either contribute directly to RIMS Benchmark Survey™ or by using our “data participation letter” to authorize their broker to provide the client’s program details. The letter is available at or by calling 800-655-6590. Risk management professionals can also contribute by e-mailing current and prior year policy schedules to or by faxing to 212-655-7453.

Risk managers who contribute data to the survey can benchmark the structure of their commercial insurance programs, retained loss costs, exposure demographics and Total Cost of Risk (TCOR) against a highly relevant group of peer companies. Additionally, survey respondents can use software personalized and configured for their needs to view detailed schedules of insurance, programs for current and past years and full-color program tower charts. Both benchmark charts and program charts can be downloaded into any presentation for senior management. The results of the RIMS Benchmark Surveyâ„¢ are available online or in an annually-published book. Visit for details.

About Advisen
Advisen’s data, analytics and news offerings are game-changers for 100,000 commercial P&C professionals. For Underwriters, Reinsurers, Brokers and Risk Managers, the resources of Advisen provide productivity and insight into underwriting, marketing, broking and purchasing commercial insurance. Configurable applications allow Advisen to customize each solution and/or craft special offline delivery, too. Our result is a measurable increase in your book of business and more favorable insurance transactions. Visit us at http://www.advisen.comor contact support@advisen.comto learn more.

# # #

About RIMS

As the preeminent organization dedicated to advancing the practice of risk management, RIMS, the Risk Management Society™, is a global not-for-profit organization representing more than 3,500 industrial, service, nonprofit, charitable and government entities throughout the world. Founded in 1950, RIMS brings networking, professional development and education opportunities to its membership of more than 11,000 risk management professionals located in more than 60 countries. For more information on RIMS, visit


For more information, contact:

Josh Salter, RIMS communications manager, (212) 655-6059 or

To be notified of new Press Releases by email, join RIMS Press List.


Risk Knowledge is a searchable library of relevant information for today's risk professionals. Available materials include RIMS Executive Reports, survey findings.

Search By Categories
Search By Types
Search By Date

RIMS Marketplace

Access the most comprehensive directory of solution providers for risk professionals.


CertFocus is the most dependable Certificate of Insurance Management solution…

Riskonnect, Inc.

Riskonnect, Inc. is the provider of a premier, enterprise-class technology platform…

Systema Software

SIMS Claims is a pure browser-based system, and was build by experienced…