Insurance industry rating agency AM Best has upped its view of the excess and surplus market as it continues to absorb business from the admitted market.
AM Best changed its U.S. E&S outlook from “stable” to “positive,” considering its strong underwriting results and continued high demand, which has expanded
“Fronting carriers are applying the freedom of rate and form to meet insureds’ coverage needs, and delegated underwriting authority enterprises (DUAE) such as managing general agents are working with carriers to develop customized coverage solutions, all at the same that challenging conditions in the reinsurance market are leading participants to surplus lines underwriters,” said Greg Williams, senior director at AM Best, in a statement. “This is providing a significant boost for the E&S segment, and we expect it remain in high demand.”
During a market briefing at the American Property Casualty Insurance Association’s annual meeting in Boston last week, Williams added that AM Best analysts believe the E&S market “has legs.”
“We’re still seeing the submissions flow in the E&S arena,” he added, as primary commercial and personal carriers tighten underwriting criteria. These accounts look to E&S for coverage, where they are able to receive customized policy conditions as well as rates to match the risk.
AM Best said lines of business that are recently “cast off” by admitted carriers include commercial auto and D&O liability. Additionally, the complex risks within cyber and the cannabis industry also find risk transfer partners in the E&S market.
The change in the outlook comes about two months after AM Best’s E&S market segment report, which highlighted double-digit growth in surplus lines for the fifth year in a row. The U.S. E&S market made up nearly 9 percent of the U.S. property/casualty insurance industry in 2022.