AM BestTV at the WSIA Conference: E&S Crystal Ball Shows Higher Rates, More Risk Sharing, Social Inflation Ahead

OLDWICK, N.J.--()--In this AMBestTV episode from the Wholesale and Specialty Insurance Association’s (WSIA) Annual Marketplace, held in San Diego, CA, attendees said that while they remain positive about what the future holds for the excess and surplus lines industry, insurers still need several years of price firming to make up for years of cutting. Click on to view the entire program.

Brokers and underwriters are optimistic about industry rate hikes.

“I think there will be a continuing of growth in the surplus lines market with a little bit of hardening,” said Erich Bublitz, vice president, underwriting, Admiral Insurance Group. “Probably not a significant hardening as in the former days, but some hardening in the surplus lines space, as well as some movement of product from the standard market to the surplus lines market.”

Matthew Power, senior managing director, wholesales, Risk Strategies, addressed the needs of the customer.

“I think the market moves based on the needs of the customer, which changes as business models change and accelerate in terms of complexity and the liability landscape. As a result, the industry has to move in tandem, as well as move at a more rapid pace than in previous times. This is going to make for a very exciting time for the industry,” he said.

Alan Kaufman, chairman, president and chief executive officer, H.W. Kaufman Financial Group, said he is convinced that the surplus lines industry will flourish as long as the U.S. economy is strong: “A healthy economy means a healthy business climate and more business opportunities.”

Other people that appear in this episode:

  • Hank Watkins, president, Lloyd's America Inc.;
  • Ben Johnson, senior vice president, wholesale executive; Liberty Mutual;
  • Jennifer Rubin, senior vice president, head of property and terrorism, Hiscox;
  • Derek Broaddus, senior vice president, excess casualty division, Allied World Insurance Company;
  • Kyle Burnett, head of excess and surplus property, AXA AL; and
  • Pat Ryan, chairman, chief executive officer, founder, Ryan Specialty Group LLC.

For full video coverage of the WSIA conference, including exclusive executive interviews, visit

Previous WSIA conference coverage includes:

  • From the WSIA Annual Marketplace: Thriving Wholesale and Specialty Sectors Draw Insurers to Annual Event: Attendees to the WSIA Annual Marketplace said the surplus lines sector supports its growth by focusing on new risks and coverages:

Other continuing AMBestTV conference coverage includes:

  • From the NAMIC Conference: Mutuals Look to Link Small-Town Values With Big-Time Technology: Attendees at the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies’ (NAMIC) annual convention said insurtechs are bringing new service and product opportunities, helping insurers meet the expectations of today’s prospects and policyholders:
  • From the NAMIC Conference: Buoyed by Improved Results, Mutual Insurers Prepare for the Next Round of Competition: Attendees at NAMIC said the challenge for mutuals is to leverage new technology, develop new products and services and focus on their agents and insureds: Related NAMIC coverage at
  • From the InsureTech Conference: Insurance Fundamentals Take Center Stage: At the 2019 InsureTech Connect conference, attendees said technology and new competitors are remaking insurance operations, but core principles remain crucial to insurance success: Related InsureTech Connect coverage at

AM BestTV covers exclusive AM Best and insurance industry information and reports, targeted topics and key developments in the insurance, reinsurance and related sectors daily. Sign up for alerts of episodes at View AM BestTV episodes at

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Lee McDonald
Group Vice President, Publication and News Services
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5561


Lee McDonald
Group Vice President, Publication and News Services
+1 908 439 2200, ext. 5561