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SAN FRANCISCO -- The solvency of the surplus lines industry continues to equal or exceed that of the total property/casualty industry, according to A.M. Best Co.

The rating agency's Annual Surplus Lines Review was released at the 1998 convention of the National Assn. of Professional Surplus Lines Offices, held in San Francisco Sept. 9-13.

During the 29-year period from 1969-1997, surplus lines company insolvency rates have mirrored that of the overall property/casualty industry with an average annual failure frequency rate of 0.86% and 0.87%, respectively, according to the A.M. Best report.

From 1983 to 1987, both admitted and surplus lines companies had a higher failure rate of approximately 1.2% due to the increased frequency of major catastrophe losses, increased building activity and inadequate pricing in the early 1980s, the Best report said.

The report also found that the overall premium volume for the excess and surplus lines industry declined by nearly 1% in 1997, compared with a 2.6% growth rate for the entire property and casualty industry.

The fifth annual study of the surplus lines industry is included in the 1998 NAPSLO Security & Review Annual Report.

A limited number of copies are available free from NAPSLO. Contact Mike Ardis, communications coordinator, 6405 N. Cosby, Ste. 201, Kansas City, Mo. 64151; 816-741-3910; fax: 816-741-5409; e-mail:

New officers also were elected and installed during the meeting. Orville D. Jones, chairman and chief executive officer of Crump Insurance Services Inc. in Dallas took over as NAPSLO president, replacing Paul Springman, president of Evanston Insurance Co. in Evanston, Ill.

This year's meeting also served as the springboard for launching the Derek Hughes/NAPSLO Educational Foundation Lecture Series. The first speaker in the program was American Red Cross President Elizabeth Dole.

Attendance at the meeting also topped 2,000 for the fifth consecutive year.