Total U.S. surplus lines direct premiums written (DPW) rose by 19.2% to reach a record $98.5 billion in 2022, marking a five-year streak of double-digit growth rate increase, according to a new AM Bestreport.
The new Best’s Market Segment Report, “Surplus Lines Insurers Focus on Evolving Risks to Sustain Premium Growth,” showed eight of the top 10 lines of the segment’s coverage grew DPW by more than 10% in 2022, led by the commercial property, commercial auto, and general liability lines, with the latter including boosts the from umbrella and excess liability, cyber, and professional liability segments.
Pricing pressures have continued for many commercial lines of coverage in the past two years, with both non-admitted and admitted companies focusing on core business and culling what they considered underpriced, borderline surplus lines accounts from their portfolios. These factors help drive the surplus lines share of P/C commercial DPW above 20% for the first time in 2021, ending 2022 at 21.6%.
Multiple weather-related catastrophe losses, property risks, and an increase in claims totals due to elevated construction costs have enabled surplus lines writers to carve out a bigger portion of total property/casualty (P/C) industry premium, which increased to an all-time high 11.2% in 2022, up from 10.4% a year earlier.
However, mid-year 2023 growth numbers from the 15 stamping offices that oversee transactions in the excess and surplus, or non-admitted, market are lower than the year-over-year from 2022.
The report also notes that the demand for cyber coverage has driven an increase in premium growth – 57.4% is now provided by surplus line writers up from 24.5% in 2020.
“In our view, the excess and surplus lines segment should continue reporting favorable underwriting results and organic capital generation,” said Robert Raber, director, AM Best. “Volatility in the investment markets could constrain overall operating earnings, but excess and surplus lines insurers typically fare well during cycles when market conditions stress standard market insurers.”
New distribution platforms and partnerships along with geographic or product line diversification also have played an integral role in allowing the surplus lines groups to defend their market positions and fuel the growth of newer surplus lines entities.
Article Published By: Insurance Journal
Article Written By: Insurance Journal