The market conditions for Financial Lines business were generally stable in 2017 although there remain localized areas where the market is extremely difficult and is expected to be so throughout 2018. We witnessed rate increases in specific sectors in the second half of 2017 following year-on-year reductions for almost all Financial Lines insurance, notably Professional Indemnity (PI), Directors’ & Officers’ liability (D&O) and Crime. In addition to these nascent signs of market hardening for prices and rates, deductibles were also on the climb and underwriters were more bullish in imposing restrictions on coverage.
Despite these encouraging indicators we saw throughout 2017, a number of major players, including long-standing Lloyd’s syndicates, withdrew from the market underlining the importance of risk selection to achieve success in Financial Lines.
In keeping with the Barents company-wide philosophy, our Financial Lines team steered a steady course through the challenges of 2017 by means of disciplined underwriting. Our underwriters analyse the small details of each and every risk. We set our rates based on the individual quality and claims history of the purchasing institution; we walk away from business if we do not believe the premium is adequate.
In terms of the outlook for 2018, we expect further retrenchment in the Financial Lines insurance market with carriers continuing to streamline their appetite and narrowing their sector and product line focus.