The sky may be falling, but at least insurance premiums aren't rising. The latest quarterly survey from the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) and Advisen found the only big increases during the first quarter were in the premiums that financial institutions pay for their directors and officers coverage, reflecting the spate of lawsuits that hit those institutions in the wake of the mortgage meltdown.

The survey of risk managers found that on average, premiums on D&O policies renewed during the first quarter rose 3%. Excluding financial institutions, though, the average D&O premium declined 3%. David Bradford, Advisen's executive vice president, says financial institutions' D&O premiums spiked 37% in the first quarter on a year-over-year basis, but he notes that the pricing varied widely depending on the experience of the firms. "Those who have been particularly exposed to subprime mortgage losses and susceptible to the credit crisis, their premiums have gone up triple digits in some cases," Bradford says.

For other types of coverage, the pricing was friendlier for buyers. The survey found that on average, general liability premiums on policies renewed during the first quarter fell 3.8%, following a 5.9% decline on policies renewed during the fourth quarter. Workers compensation premiums were off 2.5%, in line with the pricing in recent quarters, and property premiums were flat in the first quarter, following a 3.8% decline in the fourth quarter.

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.