|A New Year and New Projected Highlights
By Joe Russo
Happy New Year! 2023 sped by and is one for the record books. It proved to be a prosperous year with growth along most insurance lines of the specialty markets. More than we anticipated. Individual disability and group GSI numbers climbed while there was a slight slowing along life and accident insurance sales which was most likely due in part to an industry-wide easing of COVID protocols in the domestic life space over the last 12 months. Now let’s look ahead to what we can hope for from the disability and specialty lines markets over the next 12 months.
The previous hardening of the Lloyd’s market has mostly halted, and rates have plateaued. Underwriting syndicates have once again begun to cautiously loosen more-conservative underwriting methodologies that came about during the COVID era. There are still no signs of a swing to a truly soft market in the near future, but it is comforting to see more specific boundaries being set by the risk takers, allowing us to better anticipate underwriter expectations and marketplace reactions.
This year we foresee a continued evolution of the famed Lloyd’s GSI disability space with a focus on long-term product viability where rates and benefit limits will find a harmonious middle ground to help keep the product line profitable. Group guaranteed-issue excess disability insurance has been a huge premium builder for the market over the last decade and has stolen some of the spotlight from the personal accident market’s bread and butter – fully-underwritten personal disability insurance.
2024 will see continued growth in individual personal DI sales and underwriting. By all accounts, the historically successful physician, attorney, executive and accountant demographics will still shine as prospective clientele, but this year we will continue to see more out of high finance and the private equity space, as well as some fringe industries like cannabis and digital entertainment sectors, including the likes of internet and social media celebrities.
Professional and collegiate athletics will maintain its loyal niche in the market, but we anticipate seeing more interest from the carriers in insuring NIL (name, image, likeness) deals as that space evolves.
We also anticipate continued risk diversification this year with further expansion into the middle markets, targeting excess limits and impaired-risk disability benefits for gray collar employees not covered by governmental benefits.
Aside from disability insurance, we plan to heavily market the successful Failure to Survive product line which provides key person death benefits for businesses as well as buy/sell and business loan situations. Impaired-risk retention and quick simplified policy issuance are the key selling points, making FTS one of the best financial tools in the specialty insurance markets today.