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The traditional role of the excess and surplus (E&S) lines industry has been to provide a market for insuring hard-to-place risks not written by the standard markets. The National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices outlines three basic categories of surplus lines risks: Non-standard risks that have unusual underwriting characteristics; unique risks that admitted carriers do not offer a filed policy form or rate; and capacity risks where a client seeks a higher level of coverage.

Because of its unique position in the industry, E&S operations are relatively free of regulatory interference. Surplus lines is not, however, immune to the problems of the overall economy. As noted in the November issue of Florida Underwriter, the trending for Florida’s E&S premiums written has been a fairly consistent drop off for the past several years.

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