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■ Business Trends: COMMERCIAL INSURANCE


Earth, wind and fire Natural catastrophes could affect rates next year


A vehicle rolls through a fl ooded street on the waterfront of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as Hurricane Irma passes through in September.


by Joan Tupponce T


his has been a year of catastrophes: hurricanes, high winds, floods and


fires. Loss figures that are still being compiled likely will have an influence on commercial insur- ance rates next year. But to what extent rates will change, no one knows at this point. “You can’t talk about the


year without talking about the three hurricanes as well as what the impact of the fire in Napa Valley will have on the insurance


AP photo by Paul Chiasson


industry,” says John Stanchina, president and CEO of the Mid- Atlantic Region of Marsh & McLennan Agency. He describes 2017 as a “tale


of two halves” for the insurance industry. “In general, commercial insurance has remained soft across the board as it relates to most pricing,” he says. The natural disasters that


occurred during the latter half of the year may change that cycle. “We are watching to see what


happens with reinsurance renew- als so we can see what happens to property reinsurance rates,” says David Schaefer, president and CEO of AHT in Leesburg. Reinsurance involves insurers


transferring some of their risks to other companies. Many in the industry expect


reinsurers will need to recover their reserves. “Some of that will be paying out from what has happened in 2017. Reinsurance is a component of the premium


www.VirginiaBusiness.com VIRGINIA BUSINESS 27


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