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Australia fuels global premium gains

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The Pacific region, including Australia, outperformed the global market in the first quarter with a 16.1% jump in commercial insurance pricing, Marsh says.

Globally, premiums gained an average of 3%, the sixth consecutive quarter of increases.

The Pacific market built on previous year of rises, when rates grew at a similar pace.

Financial and professional liability lines had the sharpest increase of 25.8%, as insurers raised premiums and deductibles for directors’ and officers’ cover, spooked by the increase in class actions last year. Property pricing went up 14.5% and casualty 5.7%.

“The increases in the property, casualty and financial lines markets were steady in the first quarter, albeit they are the highest of any region in the world,” Marsh Global Placement Leader Asia-Pacific John Donnelly told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“We are seeing a reduction in capacity in all these lines as we move through the second quarter, which is having a greater impact on pricing.

“Several major global insurers have continued with poor underwriting results and, consequently, are under increased pressure from their global management to push prices higher and reduce exposure.”

Casualty was the only line to record a decline worldwide, with prices down 0.7%. Property was up 4.7% and financial and professional liability lines 5.6%.

US prices gained 1.1%, the best result since 2013, and the UK posted its sixth consecutive quarter of rate gains, with the index up 2.9%. Continental Europe and Asia posted gains for the second consecutive quarter, up 2% and 0.4% respectively.

The Marsh Global Insurance Market Index measures commercial pricing changes at renewal and covers nearly 90% of Marsh’s premiums.