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CFA's HUNTER SEES END OF HARD MARKET IN COMMERCIAL LINES.

Rate increases in commercial property insurance have slowed to a standstill and in some cases are starting to drop, signaling the end of the hard market of sharp rate increases, J. Robert Hunter, the Consumer Federation of America's director of insurance, reported Nov. 3.

He based his analysis on the most recent quarterly survey by the Council of Insurance Agents+Brokers and media reports on quarterly returns of commercial insurers.

During the first half of 2003, he said, insurers have seen their net income after taxes jump from $4.4 billion a year ago to $15.5 billion now and their retained earnings rose by $28.1 billion.

He said commercial lines insurers also saw their loss ratios - the portion of the premium dollars used to pay claims - fall from 97 percent at the second quarter of 2002 to 62 percent a year later.

"The good news for consumers is that the end of outrageous insurance rate increases is here," he said. "The bad news is that those rate increases were likely fueled by unjustifiably high profits, rather than a legitimate increase in insurer costs."
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Publication:Liability & Insurance Week
Date:Nov 9, 2003
Words:185
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