With two cornerstones of their market’s operational framework under attack–niche underwriting and wholesale distribution–excess and surplus lines brokers and insurers are finding it tougher just to stay even, let alone gain any ground, executives said here.

Even the promise of pricing stabilization that made a fleeting appearance at midyear, had come and gone by the time of the annual meeting of the National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices Ltd., according to the general opinions of a dozen E&S executives who spoke to NU’s E&S/ Specialty Lines Extra at the meeting and in the days leading up to the event.

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