Rule #1 for agents and brokers? Provide clients with responsive service and get new excess and surplus (E&S) insurance business written. Simple, right?

But talent shortages, greater underwriting scrutiny and the sheer volume of submissions insurance underwriters receive daily have insurance agencies vying for attention. What to do? Start by memorizing these three tips to get your E&S submissions to the top of the pile.

1. Submit a Complete Excess and Surplus Lines Application the First Time

Yes, accounts should fit the E&S lines carrier's appetite and guidelines. But from there, it's all about how ready the submission is.

"Of paramount importance is to provide complete data with your excess and surplus insurance submission to the underwriter," says Rep Plasencia, RPS area executive vice president. "Too often, submissions are missing basic information — from ACORD applications and questionnaires to current loss runs — which can result in a submission getting cleared for review and the underwriter following up with the agent at a much later date for the missing information or putting the submission aside and working on those that are complete.

"Incomplete submissions end up causing delays and missed opportunities. At the end of the day, insurance underwriters must choose what accounts to work on. They have many submissions coming in and have to choose what makes it to the top of the pile."

2. Include Supporting Documents With the E&S Submission

What makes a complete submission? Depends on what you're shopping for.

For Property submissions, include the relevant applications and any supplemental apps and questionnaires, statements of value (SOVs) in a spreadsheet inclusive of all construction, occupancy, protection and exposure (COPE) data, and three- to five-year loss runs.

Liability submissions require revenue declarations, subcontractor costs if applicable, and vehicle schedules for Auto, in addition to completed applications, supplementals, loss runs and any relevant questionnaires.

3. Tell the Insured's Full Story, Even the Problematic Parts

While gathering all the information for an excess and surplus lines submission, some issues may force additional inquiries. For example, an insured may have suffered a large loss, experienced significant changes to the operation (such as a considerable increase/decrease in revenue or a location change) or made a major acquisition. Any of these events can result in substantial E&S premium changes.

Don't wait for the underwriter to ask what's going on.

"Take the time to explain what happened along with the submission you provide," says Plasencia. "Answer the questions ahead of time, so the underwriting process is not interrupted."

The goal, Plasencia explained, is to put a submission in the insurances underwriter's hands so he or she can underwrite it from soup to nuts at the outset.

"You don't want multiple touches on an account during the underwriting process, as this slows things down. The more you anticipate what issues will draw questions, the faster and better quotes you'll get. Underwriters will provide more competitive terms to agents diligent about their submissions and whom they can trust."

In the end, Plasencia says, "Complete, descriptive submissions translate into writing new E&S business and retaining accounts. Underwriters want to write great accounts, and good submissions will always help sell an account to the excess and surplus marketplace."

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