The Essential Role of E&S Market vs. Perception

Katie Wilmoth | April 24, 2020

What Do Agents Think About E&S Markets?

Woman with glasses looking up, on an orange background.There is a prevailing thought amongst P&C agents that Excess, Surplus and Specialty lines markets are only used for those one-off type risks, or poor and high risk business. While E&S is certainly used for placing one-off risks, it is also a good home for risks that have been denied by a standard carrier for a variety of reasons. E&S coverage does not necessarily fall into the category we typically think of as “non-standard,” and in fact the business can still be a “good risk.” For example, some business can be denied by standard carriers because of the size of business, prior loss history, class type, location, etc. This is a wonderful opportunity for the specialty lines markets to provide a critical service to consumers.

The Evolving Insurance Landscape

Over the last several years, wholesalers and carriers have seen a large increase in the need for this type of insurance as clients face new and complex issues. Changes in state legislation, changes in technology, and changes in other venues have provided the need for coverages that fall between the cracks of what has been covered typically by standard policies. Some risks are simply too high for a standard carrier to take on, and yet - the need is there. Not because the business necessarily fits the normal perception that comes along with “non-standard business,” but simply because we’re seeing an emergence of unprecedented issues arising from an evolving market landscape.

Access to Specialty Insurance Carriers

Although these needs exist in the marketplace, agents may not automatically know what to do with these needs when confronted with them from an existing client. Often this required referring a client out to another agent or company who could write the risk. This is why Smart Choice created Express Markets – as a way to give agency partners easy and direct access to a number of different specialty carriers in one place – without having to send the client elsewhere.

Katie Wilmoth

Cover of Smart Choice Magazine 2020 Issue 2, The Express Markets IssueThe Role of Excess, Surplus, and Specialty Markets in Insurance Agencies

There's a common misconception that excess & surplus (E&S) and specialty lines coverage is only for business that has been historically rated high-risk or for those one-off, hard-to-place risks that cross your desk a few times a year. But as carriers tighten their requirements for writing standard business, having relationships with E&S carriers can help you provide essential coverage for homeowners and business owners who don't qualify for standard policies. Check out the 2020 Issue 2 of Smart Choice Magazine for more.

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