Lexington CEO assured in surplus traces market’s ongoing momentum
Lou Levinson, President and CEO of Lexington Insurance Company, an AIG company, certainly seems to think so. In fact, the industry veteran, aged 30+, said he found the industry’s ability to maintain momentum in the waste conduit market “absolutely fantastic,” adding that the industry “continues to perform an important role as the world becomes more complex will”. .
The growth of the surplus insurance market significantly outpaced the growth of the entire property and casualty insurance (P&C) market – at 17.5% compared to an overall growth of the property and casualty insurance industry of around 2% in 2020. In its 2021 US Surplus Lines – Segment Review, AM Best found that the surplus insurance market share has more than doubled in the last 20 years, from 3.6% of total property and casualty insurance in 2000, despite numerous economic, regulatory, legislative and market policy challenges to 9.1% at the end of 2020.
Over the same period, the share of surplus lines in the commercial lines DWP grew from 7.1% to 18.4% – a growth that Levinson said the “strong support and need for the market and the momentum we find ourselves in” shows.
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In a State of the Surplus Lines webinar produced by AM Best and the Wholesale and Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA), Levinson described how filings continue to flow into the E&S space at an “unprecedented rate”. He said: “It is fueled by ongoing unknowns around COVID, cyber, an increase in the frequency and severity of real estate CAT, convection storms, floods, wildfires. I think we even had locusts on the east coast this year – the list just goes on and on. […] This is where the excess lines segment really shines; where we offer innovative solutions for very complex problems. “
While rates for excess business have improved, better reflecting the risks the market is taking, Levinson warned that more unknowns lurk on the horizon.
“We’re not done yet,” he emphasized. “There is a shift in corporate perception, there is debt inflation, there is normal inflation, there is a well-funded law firm coming up to us, and there are improvements in third party litigation funding. A nuclear vertical kept coming up; now it’s just judgments and they happen all the time. In August, the industry had a $ 1 billion auto damage from Florida.
“I think the best insurance in the industry against this is pretty straightforward,” he said. “It’s not complicated. It is about risk selection, binding conditions, limits and price and the subsequent error-free execution of these strategies during the entire market cycle. “
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Looking at market cycles, Levinson said he doesn’t think the excess pipe industry is in the middle of a typical “hard” market cycle. Rather, he described the current situation – one in which airlines are offering lower limits, for more premium and with stricter insurance terms – as a “market correction really driven by companies that show discipline in terms of capacity and capital management”. And the CEO said he didn’t expect this trend to change anytime soon.
“I really don’t see this cycle as a typical market cycle. I see it as a market correction, ”he emphasized. “Just a few years ago, we used twice the capacity on the accident side than we do today. On the real estate side, it’s probably a tenth of what it was over the same period. And I don’t see that change anytime soon.
“What I see in my own company and the rest of the company is tremendous discipline in providing capacity and using it in a much more thoughtful way than it was a few years ago, for all the reasons behind it [like] nuclear jury verdicts, social inflation, or just plain ordinary inflation. “