[caption id="attachment_44821" align="alignright" width="198" caption="Robb Daer"][/caption]
What do you see as the trends in business insurance for 2012?
Workers compensation premiums are on the rise, driven primarily by increase in medical costs. Average clients expect 10 percent-plus increases in workers comp premiums. Insurance carriers want to get increases on property and liability but there is still a lot of competition in this space and we expect to see slight increases in rates and tougher underwriting throughout 2012. Carriers do not want to lose business that they currently write so they are cautious with rate increases on existing business.
What trends do you see in employee benefits for 2012 in cost and in design?
The cost of employee benefits is continuing to rise. We are expecting 5 percent to 20 percent increases again in 2012. Employers are doing some cost shifting to higher deductibles or co-payments and are asking employees to contribute more.
What issues are clients asking about most often and what are you telling them?
The economy is still the biggest concern for business owners. Most businesses are still struggling and we are starting to see the market hardening up and clients are expecting more for their money. We are being more proactive with our client services and providing all of it at no cost to our clients. Things like fork-lift certification and state mandated sexual harassment training usually cost employers hundreds of dollars and we are able to provide this to them at no cost.