Commercial property and casualty insurance premiums rose an average of 7.7% in the first quarter of 2024, up slightly from 7.0% in Q4 2023, according to the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers (CIAB).

The middle market saw a higher average increase at 8.5% than small or large accounts, which both reported average premium changes of 7.3%. CIAB reported an average increase across all lines of business of 5.8%, nearly static with Q4 2023’s 5.7%.

Commercial property prices rose an average of 10.1%, down from the 11.8% seen in Q4 2023, but brokers continue to report challenges with the line. Some deemed it “almost impossible” to place accounts, while others mentioned strict underwriting, extensive data needed for submissions, and no let-up in the focus on property valuations.

Not far behind property was commercial auto with an average increase of 9.8%, an uptick from Q3’s average change of 7.3%. Brokers viewed commercial auto as “more difficult” than the previous quarter but didn’t specify why. However, CIAB highlighted vehicle repair costs—which have risen 23% since 2022—driver shortages and high auto-related verdicts as a few likely reasons.

“The prevalence of vehicles with high-tech features, such as backup cameras or proximity sensors, also means even minor accidents like backing into a pole can be that much more costly,” CIAB said, citing news reports.

The percentage of brokers reporting increases in commercial auto claims also jumped to 63% from 49% in Q4 2023, according to the survey.

Outside of commercial auto, most lines of businesses showed clear signs of moderation from the previous quarter. Cyber insurance posted an average increase of 0.4%, and workers’ compensation and D&O premiums decreased on average by 1.8% and 0.8%, respectively.

CIAB attributed the D&O decreases to heightened market competition (broker respondents said available capacity doubled between Q4 2023 and Q1 2024, even as demand dropped). With fewer mergers and acquisitions and fewer initial public offerings, D&O has fewer buyers right now, the organization commented.

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