The excess and surplus (E&S) lines market plays an essential role in the property and casualty world for those risks that have been declined by the standard markets, as well as the occasional one-off. Declinations from standard lines carriers can happen for any number of reasons, including loss history, business size, location or experience.
By and large, E&S risks tend to be more complicated and require an underwriter to consider more detail than what may be on an ACORD form. Understanding how wholesalers work best, and how you can make the process easier will help you serve your clients efficiently or avoid having to pass on the risk altogether.
Paint a full picture. Detailing the full story of a risk is vital to placing coverage. The wholesaler’s job is to place business for you, not just quote it. They have access to many companies with differing appetites, capacity and coverages. In addition to a completed ACORD and supplementals, include a summary of the account details – either in the body of an email with the submission, or as an attachment. The more you can fill in the story as to why a client may have been declined, what their needs are, loss history, premium history experience, or any other relevant details, the better equipped the broker is to successfully find a market or a program that will work for your client.
Minimize the number of brokers with which you work. Wholesalers tend to share many of the same markets, so sending a risk to multiple brokers probably isn’t going to increase the chances of you writing it. What it will do is frustrate them, tie their hands and block the market. If you do opt to work with a second wholesaler, it will save time and aggravation if you disclose to Company B that you already approached Company A.
Time is not on your side. Since most E&S business has already expended time in the standard markets leading up to a declination, submissions are often received by the wholesaler at the last minute with little to no time to spare. Having a complete submission with relevant underwriting information, along with a compelling narrative to help sell it, is vital to an expedited process.
Don’t underestimate the impact your E&S submissions can have on your wholesaler relationship – for better or worse. When it comes to a wholesaler partnership, independent agents are seeking speed, market knowledge and communication. That’s a lot to ask if you are a small agency with a history of marginal effort, incomplete and last-minute submissions. Learning the requirements and applying good common-sense practices when working with E&S wholesalers will serve you and your clients well in the long run.