Monday, May 13, 2013

Professional/E&O Market Challenges

Oglebay Golf Resort, Palmer Course, Wheeling WV

I recently had a chance to play some golf in West Virginia. I'm used to playing on fairly flat ground, and about half of my shots in WV were not on flat ground. As you can see from the photo above, in the background on hole number one there's a ski lift - a good clue that the terrain isn't going to be "easy". It was quite the challenge, to say the least.

Whether it's personal relationships, sports, business or something else, one thing for sure is that over time we will encounter challenges. In the business of insurance, these days a "challenge" is the norm and not the exception. As our company underwriters adjust their appetites based on claim experience, financials or home office directives, we work hard to keep up with what is happening with our markets. Here's a snapshot of some of the things we're seeing:

Architects and Engineers: The companies writing these classes are still very aggressive on pricing for entities with routine operations. Markets are still competing for business, so on the majority of risks there's plenty of options, regarding both pricing and terms. Difficult placements include:
  • structural or geotechnical engineers
  • firms that do more than a small percentage of design/build
  • operations involving oil and gas
  • engineering firms that design and manufacture a product or products
  • work involving condominiums
  • very small revenues combined with any of the characteristics listed above 
Miscellaneous Professional:  The majority of risks that fall into this category are consultants of every flavor, but as you probably know almost any business operation that provides professional services can fall into this category. Most markets like just about every consultant risk that you can present, but here are a few classes that are tougher to write, consulting or otherwise:
  • credit repair and/or debt settlement services
  • real estate services. That would include title agencies, law firms specializing in real estate practice and mortgage brokers. Also real estate agents that generate a significant portion of their revenue from short sales and foreclosures is still a challenge for many of the admitted markets. And real estate agents or property managers selling or managing a large percentage of their own properties is another difficult risk for most insurers.
  • armed security professionals
  • financial advisers/financial consultants 
Accountants/CPA/Bookkeepers: This class is extremely competitive for risks that have very routine services. Bookkeepers premiums can be as low as $300. The harder to place accounts typically have one or more of these characteristics:
  • heavy audit work, especially public company audit
  • SEC related work
  • business forecasting/projecting
  • business valuations
  • financial or investment advisory
  • mergers and acquisitions
  • management advisory services
  • custom software sales/training 
Other issues may make a risk hard to place, including prior claims or incidents, new in business and/or disciplinary proceedings or actions against a licensed professional.  We have the markets and experience to help you work though the scenarios listed here as well as almost any other situation you encounter. For information on other classes or to discuss a risk, call 800-442-8063 or email today.

No comments:

Post a Comment