How do excess and surplus lines carriers ensure they have an underwriting profit? A hard market always helps in that it brings in more cash for the same risks, while also attracting new insureds looking for the kind of flexible terms and conditions that admitted companies might not be willing to supply.

In flat or softening insurance markets, however, the trick for E&S and specialty companies is to maintain the nimbleness that allows them to grow profitable lines while the getting is good–and while other lines turn sour.

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