An unanticipated outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented number of professionals changing jobs, taking an early retirement or simply leaving the workforce. Even a relatively conservative industry like insurance — with an experienced, established employee base — has experienced this disruption.
Many of the new market entrants have staffed up with seasoned management liability (ML) and professional liability (PL) underwriters. These professionals have often left a long-standing employer in search of new opportunities and greater compensation.
"It's rare to see a carrier come into a market with no experience at all," noted Manny Cho, executive vice president, Executive Lines, at Risk Placement Services (RPS). "Most will pull a seasoned underwriting team from a competitor prior to entering a ML or PL market."
Cho characterized the market to hire experienced underwriting talent as "brutal."
"It's difficult to find people," he said. "As an industry, we may need to think differently about our recruiting methodology."
Ron Kiefer, executive vice president, RPS, echoes this sentiment.
"Experienced underwriters are at a premium right now," noted Kiefer, who works with architects and engineers. "It's more of a struggle to connect with underwriters who can help us solve problems than it's been in the past."
Agents must also consider how a staffing change can impact an insurance company's underwriting philosophy.
"When senior leadership and underwriters depart, depending on who replaces them or where they're coming from, a carrier's underwriting philosophy could change," said Dave Tardif, an area senior vice president with RPS, said. "It's our job as brokers to keep track of these changes and evaluate how they affect a company's underwriting and appetite."
Across all coverages and classes of business, the staffing exodus has left the remaining underwriters overwhelmed, with little relief in sight.
Learn more about the Management and Professional Liability Market in the 2022 U.S. Management and Professional Liability Market Outlook.