E&S growth, relevance, here to stay but discipline still key: MRSI
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E&S growth, relevance, here to stay but discipline still key: MRSI

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E&S market growth has been a boon for US specialty insurers, with the market nearly approaching $100bn in written premium last year, though that doesn’t mean underwriting discipline should be forgotten, according to Munich Re Specialty Insurance executives.

“There’s is always going to be competition in the market,” Liz Kramer, head of E&S for MRSI, told Inside P&C on the sidelines of the WSIA 2023 conference in San Diego.

“There will be competitive competition, there will be naïve competition. We have to stay disciplined. We have to know what our appetite is. We have a technical price that helps guide us and we're really focused on what we have to offer.”

However, price is “not always the most important thing,” she added. “Terms and conditions, quality of risk all matter. And we have to stay on top of trends.”

As the E&S market grows and becomes more sophisticated, increasing use of data should also facilitate better decision making.

“We actually have strong data today that we should absolutely be leveraging. We are trying to build pricing tools and models and we're even bringing in third-party data to also support some of that, which the traditional markets [such as personal lines] have done.”

Professional lines

One E&S market that has seen a significant drop in rates is D&O. Munich Re Specialty only participates in private and not-for-profit D&O, where rate declines have been significant, although they may finally be slowing said Marcia Blanco, head of financial lines for MRSI.

“The moderation has been high, but I would say in the last couple of months it is no longer in the double digits, rather in the single negative digits,” Blanco said.

Carriers that previously wrote mostly excess business are now dropping to primary layers due to the tough market position, she said. MRSI, meanwhile, is staying disciplined.

“We’re staying very focused on our underwriting profit, that's what sets us apart from our competition.”

Editor's Note: This article was updated on Tuesday October 2 to clarify Munich Re Specialty's participation in the D&O market.