Monday, October 27, 2008

Reminder, A.M. Best Webinar on E&S Market Conditions set for Thursday, October 30

Four speakers will update producers and other participants in the specialty insurance markets on the current state of the specialty insurance market. The joint event will include members of the National Association of Surplus Lines Offices (NAPSLO) and Best Review magazine, published by the A.M. Best Company.

Participants in the one-hour discussion will include:
• Anthony F. Markel, Vice Chairman, Markel Corp.;
• Christopher M. Treanor, President and CEO, Mercator Risk Services Inc.;
• E.G. Lassiter, Chairman and CEO, RSUI Group; and
• Daniel Ryan of A.M. Best's property/casualty rating division.

The panel of insurers, wholesalers and analysts will examine the changing landscape for specialty insurance, known in various forms as surplus lines, excess & surplus or nonadmitted coverage. These include coverages typically not available through standard commercial or personal insurance products.

Topics to be covered include:
• Changing loss trends for the specialty lines industry;
• Financial strength of the specialty lines industry, along with a look at impairment trends;
• The impact of AIG, which in recent years has held the largest share of the U.S. market for specialty coverage;
• How pricing and capacity is changing for specialty lines segments, particularly in light of recent financial developments
• The outlook for wholesale brokers and how their role is changing in the current market
• What producers are experiencing regarding placements and how that may change
• What carriers and wholesalers are reporting on regarding submission flow

The webinar is set for 10 a.m. EDT, Thursday, October 30. Registration is free. Participants will be able to pose comments and questions. Register at

The webinar is available worldwide via internet audio. Audio coverage is available worldwide via the internet. Phone coverage is available in the following countries: United States, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

NAPSLO is a national trade association representing the surplus lines industry and the wholesale insurance marketing system.

Best's Review magazine, a publication of the A.M. Best Co., is a monthly news publication serving the insurance agent/broker, carrier and reinsurer community.

Founded in 1899, A.M. Best Company is a global full-service credit rating organization dedicated to serving the financial and health care service industries, including insurance companies, banks, hospitals and health care system providers.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New York Insurance Dept. Issues Circular Letter on Contract Certainty

The New York State Insurance Department has issued a circular letter regarding the Department’s position and expectations regarding contract certainty with respect to property/casualty insurance policies and all reinsurance contracts.

The department said it was issuing the letter to insurers today, advising them to take steps to provide “contract certainty” to help avoid situations similar to the protracted WTC dispute,
The department’s news release said there was no final detailed insurance policy on the World Trade Center before the 9-11 attack, just a broad agreement, and that uncertainty surrounding the nature and terms of the insurance contracts led to both sides spending six years in court and hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees.

“Contract certainty” refers to the complete and final agreement to all terms of an insurance policy or reinsurance contract by the date the policy goes into effect, and the issuance and delivery of the policy or contract before, at, or promptly after that inception date.

The circular letter informed insurers, agents and brokers in New York that all terms of such a policy should be agreed to and the insured provided with a copy of the policy, normally within 30 days of the policy’s inception. Insurers, agents and brokers should, within 12 months, develop and implement practices to assure that policy documentation is delivered within 30 days.

According to the Department, if terms and conditions are not clearly agreed upon before coverage commences, or if proper documentation is not provided, insureds may not know what coverage they actually have, and may assume they are covered for certain risks when they are not. This could lead to confusion at best, complex litigation at worst.

The department said the action was similar to that taken by the United Kingdom Financial Services Authority (FSA) in 2004. The FSA called on industry in the London market to provide greater contract certainty at the inception of a contract, with full documentation delivery promptly thereafter. Significant progress toward contract certainty in that market resulted from the FSA’s action.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A.M. Best Webinar to Discuss Changing Landscape and Coverage Opportunities in Current E&S Market

Dramatic changes in the financial services environment are affecting the landscape for specialty lines and excess & surplus producers and insurers.

In a special webinar on Thursday, October 30, hosted by the A.M. Best Company's Best's Review magazine, representatives of NAPSLO's leading insurers and wholesalers in the E&S sectors will examine:

  • Market stability in specialty lines;
  • Short- and long-term capacity in surplus lines;
  • What producers need to know now about placing business;
  • How to meet the changing needs of sophisticated commercial customers;
  • How liability is changing in the complex commercial market; and
  • New markets and emerging opportunities for specialty coverage.

Scheduled participants include:
Anthony F. Markel, Vice Chairman, Markel Corp.;
Christopher M. Treanor, President and CEO, Mercator Risk Services Inc.;
E.G. Lassiter, Chairman & CEO, RSUI Group; and
A senior member of A.M. Best's rating division.

The webinar is set for 10:00 a.m. (EDT) on Thursday, October 30. Registration is free and audio is available by phone or Internet. Participants will be able to pose comments and questions both in advance and during the webinar by registering at the following link:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Get Update on Surplus Lines Tax Laws

A group of surplus lines lawyers will provide an update on Surplus Lines Tax Laws during a FC&S webinar on October 23 from 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. (Eastern) on Thursday, October 23.

Steve Stephan, Director of Government Relations for NAPSLO, H. Michael Byrne, a partner at Dewey & LeBoeuf, and Daniel Brown, a partner at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal will make the presentation.

The cost to take part in the webinar is $29.95 and system requirements are: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista, or Mac OS® X 10.3.9 (Panther®) or newer. To sign up, click on the following link.

Scheduled topics during the program are:
  • Surplus Lines Law Updates
  • Federal Reform initiatives, including the Non-admitted and Reinsurance Reform Act
  • State based initiatives including industry, NAIC and NCSL working group project
  • Statutory and regulatory changes to surplus lines tax laws
The webinar is being hosted by the National Underwriter Company.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Advanced School deadline extended to Oct. 12

A few spaces remain in the NAPSLO Advanced School, set for November 4-7 in St. Louis and the deadline to submit applications has been extended to October 12.

The Advanced School is designed for those with 5 to 15 years of experience in the excess and surplus lines industry. The school offers a comprehensive look at surplus lines and provides networking opportunities. Completion of the NAPSLO E&S School is not a prerequisite. The cost of the school is $1,250.