Manny Cho, executive vice president, Executive Lines at RPS says that the Management and Professional Liability sector as a whole is very much a buyer's market.

"This year, flat is now the worst result that many people are seeing, and you might be seeing anywhere from 10% to 20% rate reductions in a number of areas," he says.

But the lack of rising premiums doesn't mean the current market is an easy one for brokers and agents. Cho says that with price no longer being the differentiator it used to be, agents need to look at other areas to ensure they're delivering the best for their clients, while also protecting their own books of business in a shrinking market.

"Here at RPS we are very much focused on quality of cover and financial stability," he says. "With some of the issues we've seen in the sector — and I'm thinking very much about the recent case of Hallmark — there's definitely a call for financial security and stability with the carriers that we're placing business with."

The soft market is also seeing underwriters fighting harder to find profitability, which in turn is increasing the workload agents face.

"Underwriting is getting a little tougher, with underwriters really trying to create profitability in their books of business, with investors not just looking at top line premium growth anymore, but also loss ratios," Cho says. "There is going to be more underwriting questions, creating even more work for brokers in terms of gathering information.

"As a result, they're working harder, many times just to retain 70% of their renewal base."

For Cho, this trend means agents need to look for support from their partners to make the most of the opportunities available.

"Almost every market we operate in is in a very competitive market, with high levels of capacity and good rates and good terms and conditions available," he says. "It's good for financial stability and good for the customer, but it does mean that renewals are being kept at 80 cents for every dollar made the previous year.

"This makes it a difficult market for brokers, and it's times like these that partnerships come into their own, and we want to work with our agents to help them set the right expectations for the customer and get the information we need so that we can get them covered under the best terms available."

Learn more about what's next for the ML & PL market in the RPS 2023 US Management and Professional Liability Market Outlook.

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