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The annual directory of excess and surplus lines insurers lists companies that responded to a Business Insurance questionnaire.

To be listed, surplus lines insurers must write more than 50% or $10 million in gross premiums related to commercial risks on a direct, non-admitted basis; excess insurers must generate at least 50% or $50 million in gross premiums in excess liability lines, either on an admitted or non-admitted basis.

Information on gross premiums, which are reported as a combination of direct business and reinsurance assumed by the company, begins each listing.

For surplus lines insurers, the next figure reflects gross premiums written on a direct, non-admitted basis. Listings for excess insurers note the percentage of gross premiums related to excess liability lines and the percentage of excess liability premiums written on an admitted basis.

Net premium volume is calculated by subtracting reinsurance ceded from gross premiums.

Paid-in capital is the total of the value of both common capital stock and preferred capital stock of the company; the next entry reflects policyholder surplus.

The statutory combined ratio is calculated by adding the company's loss ratio (losses and loss expenses incurred to premiums earned) to the expense ratio (underwriting expenses to net premiums written).

Combined ratio 1 shows the statutory combined ratio; combined ratio 2 reflects the company's combined ratio as calculated by A.M. Best Co. or Standard & Poor's Corp.

Statutory net income is derived after dividends to policyholders and federal income taxes.

A footnote will indicate if figures are reported on a pooling basis, excluding premiums written on a direct, non-admitted basis.

The Best's rating listed under each year is the rating assigned by Best after the close of the year; rating modifiers are detailed below. Best's Financial Performance Index, which is given to some companies not assigned a rating, is listed if provided. The S&P rating for claims paying or solvency also was requested.

The total number of employees (and for excess insurers, the number involved in excess liability underwriting) is given in full-time equivalents.

Each listing includes the company's year founded and its parent company. Commercial risks the company specializes in insuring are noted under specialties. The names and locations of subsidiaries are also listed.

States in which the company is an approved, non-admitted insurer, and those in which it is an admitted insurer are also provided.

Names and titles of principal officers, as well as a contact for readers seeking more information complete each listing.

In addition to this directory of excess and surplus lines insurers, a directory of wholesale marketers begins on page 57.

BI publishes the directory as an editorial service; there is no charge to be included. Financial information is verified whenever possible against the companies' annual statements as filed with state insurance departments. Although every effort is made to provide complete and accurate information, BI is unable to verify all information received.

The Best's rating modifiers used in the directory are:

(c) a contingent rating; (e) the rating of the parent company; (g) a group rating; (q) a qualified rating; (p) a pooled rating; (r) a reinsured rating; (s) a consolidated rating.