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Navigating the Challenges of the Hard Property Market: Strategies for Agent Success

By Pathpoint

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Unless you've been living under a rock, you're probably aware of the challenges we've been facing in the insurance world. The 'hard market' has brought about a period of sky-high premiums, strict underwriting standards, and limited availability of coverage, especially for property. It's not just a challenge; it's a crisis in many states (looking at you, Florida). Finding a needle in a haystack is easier than finding adequate property coverage in this challenging market. Both insurers and customers are feeling the heat. Insurance agents must be on their A-game to secure the right coverage for their clients. However, insurance agents can weather the storm and thrive with the right strategies. Here's how:

Be Upfront and Honest with Clients

Your clients have high expectations, especially during a hard market. It's important to be honest and transparent with them. As an insurance agent, particularly if you're new to the industry, it can be challenging to have difficult conversations with clients, such as when they install a seven-foot slide in the pool of their Airbnb. It is crucial to educate them about the current market conditions, potential challenges, and the steps to secure coverage. Setting realistic expectations and providing regular updates can build trust and help clients understand the value of insurance.

Leverage Your Resources: Your Social Network

We all know that the insurance industry is built on relationships. Some of the most critical relationships for agents are with their underwriters and account managers. These are key contacts in both good times and bad. Underwriters provide insights into a particular carrier's preferences and risk appetites, giving you the necessary information to prepare more favorable risks. Account managers are typically an agent's essential partner, whose purpose is to help you succeed. They can connect you with some of the best resources and information. Regardless of the relationship you utilize, having an ally in the field in a hard market is critical to success.

Do Your Homework with Quality Submissions

After getting help from your friends, it's time to do your homework. When submitting a property, ensure you have COPE: construction, occupancy, protection class, and exposures ready. There's nothing worse than submitting and then being asked for more info. Also, highlight risk-reducing features like updated electrical, security, or fire suppression systems. Have pictures and websites ready. The more information you provide, the smoother the quoting process will be. This can make your property more attractive to insurers. Try submitting at least three times with standard markets and document your efforts.

Explore Excess and Surplus Lines

Standard insurance carriers often avoid insuring certain property risks in a hard market. This is where Excess and Surplus (E&S) steps in. After completing due diligence (evidence of submitting to three admitted markets), you are now prepared to engage in the world of E&S. Surplus line carriers often offer coverage solutions that standard markets won't touch, such as coastal or wind exposures. For those inexperienced with E&S, it can seem daunting and scary. It is more like the "Wild Wild West" of insurance, with various methods of submitting business, varying premiums, carrier ratings, and diverse appetites. While E&S was seemingly unpredictable back then, the introduction of technology and new players to E&S have changed the game.

Utilize Pathpoint for Property

By harnessing the power of technology, Pathpoint, a small commercial binding wholesaler, simplifies the complexity of E&S into a more efficient process that models the experience of the admitted market. With Pathpoint, agents can quickly secure hard-to-place property accounts nationwide, including in high-risk areas like Florida, the Gulf States, and the Sunbelt. By working exclusively with carriers rated A or better by AM Best, Pathpoint provides agents with the confidence of a reliable market, offering comprehensive coverages such as earthquake or Special Form coverage and higher limits of up to $5.6 million per policy to address rising construction costs.

At Pathpoint, agents have access to a state-of-the-art self-service quoting site, and each agent is assigned their own internal support team. This includes a dedicated underwriter and an account manager specializing in their region. While agents have the freedom to quote, bind, and pay digitally, they also have the support of a team of insurance professionals to assist them with any questions or issues they may encounter. This personalized support reflects our belief that insurance is ultimately a relationship business, and we're here to support you every step of the way.

Succeeding in a Hard Market

Navigating the hard property insurance market can be tough, but agents can thrive using the right tools and strategies. Essential tactics include transparency with clients, leveraging relationships, well-prepared submissions, and exploring E&S markets. Utilizing wholesalers that embrace technology (like Pathpoint) can streamline the process, offering efficiency and reliable market access crucial for securing coverage in high-risk areas. By adopting these approaches, insurance agents can turn a challenging market into an opportunity for growth and success.

Find easy property placement for your vacants, lessor's risks, and other commercial accounts at www.pathpoint.com.