Anyone who has been in the insurance industry long enough hasheard it before: “This market cycle is different.” This time,though, even veteran Excess and Surplus (E&S) Linesprofessionals believe it might be the case.

A combination of excess capital, much of it from non-traditionalsources, and, to a lesser extent, the ability to put data andanalytics to better use means the industry can absorb larger lossesthan ever before. With continuous new entrants armed with so muchcapital trying to get a return for their investors, a competitivemarket has taken root that would require a major catastrophic lossevent to alter the current playing field.

“What I'm telling my folks is this is the new normal,” says BobGreenebaum, executive vice president, Casualty Practice GroupLeader at Swett & Crawford. Speaking to the abundant capital inthe marketplace and what that has meant for the ability towithstand larger losses, Greenebaum notes the industry hardlyflinched after 2012's Superstorm Sandy—which caused $19.3 billionin insured losses in 2014 dollars. “Sandy didn't even move theneedle, and it was a massive loss,” he notes.

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