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E&S markets drawing business amid primary rate hikes, tight capacity

Posted On: Sep. 14, 2022 7:44 AM CST


SAN DIEGO — Business has been flowing into wholesale insurance markets from the primary side as policyholders and brokers seek alternatives amid primary rate hikes and capacity constraints, according to sources at this week’s Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association’s Annual Marketplace.

“We have seen a large influx of business into the excess and surplus marketplace,” said John Anthony, senior vice president for excess and surplus wholesale, contract property and casualty, excess and umbrella in Scottsdale, Arizona, for Nationwide Insurance Co. 

Tumult in the primary markets has prompted policyholders and brokers to explore other options.

“A number of retail brokers were challenged with the dramatic change in the market conditions and needed to find capacity or product expertise in certain lines of coverage,” said Jack Kuhn, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey-based president of Westfield Specialty, a unit of Westfield Insurance Co. 

Exposures not adequately served by primary markets can be addressed through the excess markets, experts say. 

“We see more buyers moving into excess and surplus because of the flexibility we have around rate and form,” said Bob Mescher, senior vice president at Admiral Insurance Group, a Berkley company, in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. “As a marketplace, excess and surplus lines is set up to respond to the business that doesn’t fit” in the general commercial insurance marketplace.