The premium rates set by insurance companies involve calculation methods that incorporate the costs of insuring a person or business while generating some sort of profit in the process. Insurance pricing methods can vary in terms of the types of variables considered when determining pricing rates. Methods used may consider risk factors, probability factors and individual claims histories depending on the type of insurance involved.

Schedule Rating Method

Insurance pricing methods--also known as rate making--provide baseline or standard rates that form the basis for pricing individual case scenarios. Different pricing methods may rely more heavily on baseline rates when other factors like risk and claims history are involved. The schedule rating method uses baseline rates as a starting point and then factors in other variables depending on the degree of risk they carry, according to ThisMatter, a financial planning resource site. Schedule rating methods are used within the commercial property insurance industry, where factors like location, size and business purpose provide baseline indicators for determining pricing rates. Baseline indicators rely on identified risk factors found within a group or class of policyholders that have similar characteristics such as age, sex and line of work. These indicators provide the starting points, or baseline rates, used to calculate a premium rate for individual policyholders.

Retrospective Rating Method

Some types of insurance provide protection against risks that are less predictable than the risks covered by other types of insurance. An example of this would be burglary insurance where the odds of predicting how often a business would be burglarized are more difficult than predicting health risks, such as heart disease or diabetes with health insurance ratings. According to ThisMatter, the retrospective rating method relies more on a policyholder’s actual claims experience when setting pricing rates as opposed to baselines, or standard pricing rates. In order to do this, a company may require premium payments be made in increments, with a portion due at the start of a policy term and the remainder due at the end of a policy term. In the case of burglary insurance, the amount of the remaining premium payment is based on whether a burglary occurred since the start of the policy period.

Experience Rating Method

Experience rating pricing methods rely more heavily on a policyholder’s past claim experience when determining what premium rates to charge. The types of insurance that use this method include automobile, workers compensation and general liability insurance. Price rates are determined according to a credibility factor, which uses a person’s past claim history as an indication of the level of risk involved and the likelihood that future claims will be filed. Once a risk level is determined, the credibility factor is measured against a baseline pricing rate that represents to average rate charged to a class of policyholders that have similar characteristics. Adjustments are then made to the baseline pricing rate based on each policyholder’s credibility rating.