The buyer’s market in commercial insurance continued during the third quarter, according to the latest benchmark survey from the Risk and Insurance Management Society and Advisen. There was no change in the average premium for property insurance policies that renewed during the third quarter, while the average general liability premium actually declined 3.7% and the average premium on workers compensation insurance fell 4.5%. The survey notes, though, that since liability and workers compensation policies take into account sales and payrolls, the weakness in those areas contributed to the decline in premiums.

Premiums for directors and officers liability insurance were also unchanged on average during the third quarter, but the RIMS report notes that financial institutions saw their premiums rise and other buyers saw premiums decline.

Although the third-quarter data are weak, they represent some firming from the year-ago figures. While property premiums were flat in the latest quarter, they fell 8.5% in the third quarter of 2008, and the 3.7% decline in the average third-quarter liability premium compares with a 9.6% decline in the year-ago period. On the other hand, workers compensation premiums were down just 0.6% in the third quarter of last year, versus the 4.5% decline in the latest quarter.