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Lexington develops more ways to grow in surplus lines business


Lexington Insurance Co.

100 Summer St.

Boston, Mass. 02110

617-330-1100; fax: 617-951-0067

Product innovation, management continuity and a broad distribution footprint makes Lexington Insurance Co. a "compelling insurance company," says Kevin H. Kelley, chairman and chief executive officer of the surplus lines insurer.

For the third straight year, Boston-based Lexington, a unit of American International Group Inc., has been voted the best overall surplus lines insurer in Business Insurance's 2007 Readers Choice Awards.

Lexington also was the largest U.S. surplus lines insurer, according to BI's 2006 ranking. The company had $8.5 billion in gross written premiums last year, according to Lexington.

Its broad array of property/casualty offerings, program underwriting and excess coverages allow it to cross-sell multiple products to each customer, Mr. Kelley said.

"All those things allow us to reach many, many clients and even more frequently reach many clients with many product lines," Mr. Kelley said.

Lexington regularly explores innovative agreements along with new coverages, Mr. Kelley said. In 2006, for instance, Lexington entered a sidecar agreement with Bermuda-based Concord Re. Ltd. for additional catastrophe property capacity for commercial policyholders.

"That allowed us to...truly cement our relations with many clients," Mr. Kelley said.

The longevity of Lexington's management also pays off, added Mr. Kelley, who has been with Lexington for 32 years.

"Most of our key people have been with Lexington or AIG for at least a couple of decades," he said.

The insurer also continues to expand its distribution footprint. In April, for example, Lexington opened an underwriting office in Hamilton, Bermuda, to provide local risk managers and brokers greater access to its entire range of property/casualty products.

"We are always scratching and clawing and trying to find things other (insurers) are not doing," Mr. Kelley said. "The key to our success is trying to do what the market is not and (we) have the financial capacity" to respond to client needs.

"But I also think we can't underestimate the distribution footprint that we have. We see more business from more types of producers than anybody in the surplus lines arena," he said.