Insurance premium rates either decreased slightly or flattened out during the first quarter of 2009 for the trucking, intermodal, bulk transportation services and owner-operator segments, according to the Transportation Insurance Pricing Survey conducted by NIP Group.

The survey found that 40 percent of bulk transportation respondents felt premiums decreased by 1 to 10 percent. In addition, 26.79 percent of intermodal was in this same category, and 34.12 percent of trucking respondents also landed in this range. Those who reported no changes in rates included 35.82 percent of the owner-operator group, and 26 percent of the bulk transportation segment.

Meanwhile, 28.57 percent of the intermodal market reported that rates went down by 10 to 20 percent. Twenty percent of the trucking segment also felt that rates went down by this amount.

The survey also found that the number of participants in transportation market segments increased, and this can have an impact on rates.

"Traditionally conservative carriers are chasing premiums as they find themselves competing against new players and purchasing groups," one respondent wrote.

NIP Group is a specialty business insurance broker and an insurance management service provider.