After many years of softening, the excess and surplus lines market is now in a state of rehabilitation—but its health remains delicate, Michael Sillat of WKFC Underwriting Managers tells Intelligent Insurer.

The excess and surplus lines market is in a recovery mode. While rates are increasing, they are not exactly “hardening” just yet, the market has pulled back from very soft rates in 2009-10. But new and potential capacity entering the market also makes its full recovery far from certain.

That is how Michael Sillat, chief executive of WKFC Underwriting Managers and CivicRisk, both owned by the Ryan Specialty Group, summarises his take on the market he specialises in. WKFC operates principally in excess and surplus property lines but with a healthy book of general and professional liability business as well as other specialty lines, while CivicRisk underwrites excess casualty lines for mainly large public bodies.

“By around 2009, rates had become very soft,” he says. “They hit a real low point in 2010. Since 2011, there have been steady increases and I predict these should continue but it will be gradual and will vary by line. General liability is looking strong at the moment, for example, meaning its rehabilitation should be a lot quicker.”

Mike Sillat, WKFC Underwriting Managers, Ryan Specialty

Intelligent Insurer