National Underwriter's Guide to the E&S/Specialty Lines News


Unlikely Trio Heads Top-10 E&S Story List

Emerging insurance losses were the focus of several of 2009's top stories for the E&S/specialty lines segment—with a Ponzi schemer, a pandemic and an imported product bringing unexpected exposures into focus this year.

While the continuing soft market and a down economy had the most immediate impacts on business for excess and surplus lines and specialty brokers and insurers over the past 12 months, the unexpected appearance of Bernard Madoff, Chinese drywall and H1N1 in our e-newsletter this year pushed articles about this trio to the top of our subjective list of the major developments for 2009.


This Month's E&S News

Tough Economy, Tough Market Rank High On E&S Top-Story List For '09
Beyond Ponzi schemes and pandemics, links from the 2009 editions of NU's E&S/Specialty Lines Extra e-newsletter took readers to articles about more expected topics—the impacts of a down economy, prevailing market conditions and details of coverage for unusual risks. But readers looking for an article about the passage of a federal surplus lines reform bill or the return of hard-market pricing will have to wait to 2010 at the earliest, experts say.

Are Drywall, Silt & Green Building The Next Environmental Liability Landmines?
While it is impossible to predict what environmental liability exposure explosions may erupt in the future, several issues have been smoldering over the past few years, including silt runoff from construction sites, green construction and evolving environmental regulations, Adrien T. Robinson of Navigators Group explains.

Ponzi Scheme Cases On Deck After Recent Plaintiff Score On 401(k) Fee Case
Last month's $16.5 million settlement in an employee benefits plan case may open the floodgates to suits alleging excessive 401(k) fees, and fiduciary liability suits related to Ponzi schemes are poised to climb as well, experts warned at a recent professional liability conference.

Changing Resort & Luxury Hotel Risks Present Coverage Challenges For Agents
Agents and brokers who are trying to win, or simply renew, clientele in the luxury hotel and resort segment are finding it more challenging than ever, according to Kurt Meister of National Specialty Underwriters, an administrator of hospitality programs. Challenges come from the changing profile of the high-end hospitality industry, which now include risks from on-site day care centers, medi-spas and growing water sport options, not to mention creative real estate and land usage plans like resort property conversions and condotels.

Did D&O Coverage Fuel The Credit Crisis?
Did the availability of directors and officers liability insurance products contribute to the credit crisis fueled by investment firms that securitized subprime mortgages and other debt obligations? Richard Bortnick, a coverage attorney for Cozen O'Connor in West Conshohocken, Pa., posed the question to an insurance company executive during the annual meeting of an association of professional liability underwriters and litigators last month.

Broker Q&A: Umbrella Specialist Defies Soft Market With Rate Growth
In the last of a three-part series of interviews with NAPSLO broker members focused on the market and other challenges set to be published in E&S/Specialty Lines Extra, Bill Greene, president of W.H. Greene & Associates, explains how a reputation in the umbrella liability business gives his firm a foot in the door to retail agency customers. The wholesaler and managing general underwriter is also pursuing public entity niches during the soft market.

Coming Up Next Year
In 2010, look for more issues of NU's E&S Extra e-newsletter to be delivered to your inbox—with two issues coming each month instead of just one.

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