As his term as NAPSLO president draws to a close, Gil Hine spoke with National Underwriter Property & Casualty Editor-in-Chief Shawn Moynihan about the E&S market’s future, NAPSLO’s role and the advice he’d offer his successor.
Shawn Moynihan: Among the things you’ve achieved during your term as NAPSLO’s president, what are you most proud of, and what work still needs to be done?
Gil Hine: I want to expand that answer to encompass my entire time on the board and combine that with the efforts of past and current board and executive committee members. One of the most important strategic decisions we made a few years ago was to commit significant financial resources to hiring a top-flight executive director and giving him the authority to build a full-time professional staff to serve our members. It is now reflected in everything NAPSLO is doing.
Look at our convention with record attendance. Look at our legislative initiatives at the federal and state level. Look at the growth of our education programs and career awareness. Look at our communications, website and wholesale value campaign. NAPSLO is a premier national association and a leading voice for the insurance industry. The investment we made and continue to make is paying off big time.
For me personally, I served as Education Co-Chair and am thrilled with the growth in schools and education programs since I joined the board. The additions to the education program offerings include the Management Program, which is offered in partnership with Emory University and the Consultative Selling and Negotiation programs, which are offered around the country making them very accessible to members. We have also recently redesigned the Regulatory Compliance online program to a more interactive format, which is a big improvement.
Moynihan: The E&S market continues to be the real success story in P&C insurance, showing true organic growth and more successful coverage innovations. To what do you attribute this? What makes Surplus Lines such a unique market to be in?
Hine: The absolute No. 1 reason the E&S market thrives is the people who choose to make a career in our segment of the market. They are innovators. They are entrepreneurs. They are willing to take risk.
Beyond that, you have:
- An overall favorable state regulatory climate that has endorsed and supported the concept of “Freedom of Rate and Form” for those risks who cannot find adequate coverage in the admitted market segment;
- Recent passage of federal legislation that has streamlined the reporting and collection of taxes and licensing; and
- A growing and ever-changing economy that as a byproduct generates emerging risks, growing catastrophe exposures, and a constantly churning stream of risks that are unique or have elevated risk exposures, all of which are the bread and butter of our industry.
Moynihan: How do you see Flood insurance evolving over the next few years? I’d love your opinion as to what we’ll see, in terms of privatization and what it will take to get there.
Hine: The Surplus Lines market has a history of innovation and, in the case of Flood, stepping in to provide additional capacity. I am no expert on underwriting Flood insurance, but I do know that if there are underwriting opportunities the Surplus Lines market will be able to provide consumers with options. We have strongly supported legislation that makes it clear to lenders that they can accept private Flood insurance from the Surplus Lines market, which is not new, but a clarification. That legislation encourages some competition and makes private market solutions available to consumers who have unique Flood risks.
Moynihan: As David Leonard assumes the title of NAPSLO president, what advice would you offer him?
Hine: I have had the pleasure of working with Dave on the Education Committee when he first joined the board. He is one of the brightest, most articulate, and well-grounded individuals I have ever worked with. We made a lot of progress on the Education initiatives when we were together as co-chairs of that committee.
In my mind, giving him advice would be the student advising the teacher. Having said that, I think the most important factor in a successful year is the relationship you have with the Executive Director. Trust and respect for each other allow you to explore new opportunities and be candid in your communications, which ends up with much better decision making.
Dave needs to keep the accelerator pressed firmly to the floor and to remember our plan on the Education Committee to be aggressive with our agenda until someone says “stop.”