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Commercial Insurance


reinsurer Swiss Re Group estimated total insurance market losses from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Marie at about $95 bil- lion. Catastrophe-risk modeling company RMS estimates an economic loss range of $3 billion to $6 billion for the fires in California and expects insured losses from the Mexico earthquake in September to total around $1.2 billion. Capacity in the


David Schaefer, president and CEO of AHT in Leesburg, says, “Reinsurance is a component of the premium we all pay.”


market (the ability to provide insurance) was good this year, but there is the potential for that to be “absorbed by the three hurricanes,” says Stanchina. “There is also a very large concern about what the impact of the Napa fires will be on the market. The effects will start to play out next year.” By October, fires had destroyed


Stanchina


we all pay, and that is likely to go up in 2018,” Schaefer says. “It’s still not clear if the reinsurers feel the need to apply a rate increase across the board or if they would


apply it more selectively for the exposures that created the losses such as catastrophic wind.” In October, Switzerland-based


more than 3,500 homes and businesses. That number doesn’t account for losses caused by business interruptions. “Wineries had to shut down, and hotels closed for an extended period of time,” Stanchina says. This year’s commercial insurance


market was a reflection of last year’s buyer’s market. “On the property/ casualty side, which includes workers’ compensation, rates were flat to slightly down with the exception of commercial automobile insurance and some specialty coverages such as cyber liability,” says Curt Hodges, Richmond-based vice president of marketing for Lynchburg-based Scott Insurance. Commercial automobile insurance is


one of the insurance lines seeing consis- tent rate increases this year. “The entire industry is feeling the pain of distracted driving,” Hodges says. “The frequency of accidents is increasing due to technol- ogy and distracted driving. Repair costs are also escalating with the value of component parts of any given vehicle increasing. Automobile [insurance] is one line of coverage that will continue to see increases from most carriers, and in general, they are warranted.” This year total auto insurance losses


exceeded total premiums collected. “Insurance companies are losing money on auto,” says Paul Fleming, senior vice president of Richmond-based Bankers


28 DECEMBER 2017 Photo by Mark Rhodes


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