Access to Excess (& Surplus) is Essential

Placing vacant properties, short-term rentals and similar nonstandard risks requires the kind of flexibility that is possible only through successful relationships with the excess and surplus market.

“If you’re a personal insurance broker or agent, you might not be familiar with working with the excess and surplus market. If you’re a commercial broker or agent, you may not be aware that four-family or smaller rentals can be written on dwelling fire or modified homeowners forms,” says Donna Dodd of Burns & Wilcox.

Choosing a partner that has access to excess and surplus insurers is essential for personal insurance brokers and agents who lack market access or for commercial insurance brokers and agents who are unfamiliar with insuring properties on personal insurance forms. Without such partnerships, those brokers and agents risk missing out on profitable opportunities.

“We often are able to help in areas where brokers might otherwise need to walk away from the business,” Dodd says.

She recalls a recent case where a property changed from being owned personally to being owned by an LLC. “The property went into the name of an LLC managed by the family and was going to be rented out,” she recounts. “The homeowners policy was going to be canceled, and the broker assumed they were now dealing with a commercial insurance risk that they did not have a market for. However, we could write the account on a dwelling fire form and save the account for them.”