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Opportunity Abounds in E&S
Liz Kramer, newly appointed President of Excess and Surplus Lines, Munich Re Specialty Insurance, said the E&S market has almost doubled in the past four to five years. “We continue to see an enormous amount of opportunities coming in,” she said. Following are excerpts from an interview.
Market Analyze
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    What are you seeing in the way of E&S today?

    This is probably the hardest property market we’ve ever seen. Rates continue to go up. Capacity is down. We have not pulled back on the property market, but we are definitely seeing a significant inflow of submissions. In the way of casualty, we are still seeing rate there as well, but in pockets. Some of the professional lines have been softer, and, in fact, D&O in particular has been down. It’s amazing to see that in just one year, the D&O market has gone from one of the harder market segments to one of the softest.

    Are there any issues or concerns the industry should be thinking about?

    Casualty inflation, in particular, has been something we’ve been watching for the last 12 to 24 months. Legal system abuse is probably one of the bigger concerns for casualty. We’ve been working with our regulatory and claims groups around understanding and watching this trend. Then, for property, it is climate risk. We continue to see very active weather patterns, and it’s not just in wind-prone areas. We are seeing wildfire in the Western states combined with a lot of elevated cat activity in the Midwest and severe convective storms. There’s almost no area that is immune right now on the property side for cat events.

    What opportunities do you see in the market?

    The E&S market has almost doubled within the last four to five years. With that explosive growth, we’re seeing a number of new market entrants come in, both on the E&S side and with program administrators and MGAs that are focusing on more specialized segments. It’s a great time to be in this market, but it’s not for the faint of heart. We continue to see an enormous amount of opportunities coming in. Our E&S group has launched almost 20 new products in the last four years; 12 of them are core products. While we spent the first few years scaling our operation up, we’re now investing in those spaces and trying to grow with our partners. It’s very exciting, but you have to be very careful with some of the trends that we’re seeing.
    Liz Kramer
    It’s a great time to be in this market, but it’s not for the faint of heart.
    Liz Kramer
    President, Excess and Surplus Lines
    Munich Re Specialty Insurance

    What is your outlook for the market?

    We’re excited about the E&S space. We’re optimistic about our ability to grow there, and all signs are showing that the E&S market is going to continue to grow and see more business flow through those channels. Even some of the carriers that are predominantly writing admitted business are moving into nonadmitted space. For property, I don’t see the firmness around that market subsiding. If anything, we’re trying to triage the amount of submissions that we’re seeing. I see the property market in particular being pretty strong. Then, as far as casualty is concerned, we have to maintain discipline. We have to make sure that rates stay on top of trend. We have to continue to listen to our brokers as they continue to see more business flow through and make sure that we’re able to support them. There is just a lot going on in E&S right now. Our underwriters are busy. They’re out in the market again in person post-COVID and visiting with the brokers, so it’s pretty exciting.
    Watch the entire interview with Liz Kramer.
    This article was produced by AM Best, in collaboration with Munich Re Specialty Insurance Group.

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    Elizabeth Kramer
    Liz Kramer
    President, Excess and Surplus Lines
    Munich Re Specialty Insurance


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