Competition is fierce in the U.S. commercial lines market. Expectations continue to increase in terms of price, product and service. Distributors are pressuring insurers to increase commissions and meet streamlined operational requirements or risk losing the opportunity to quote the most preferred business. Moreover, insurers are not only competing against each other; alternative capital has been flooding the market, and new forms of partnerships between capital providers and managing general agents are slowly emerging.

At the same time, a prolonged period of low investment returns has made underwriting profitability increasingly important to drive performance, making lower prices/broader terms unattractive levers to win business....

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