Sarah Brailey is a Divisional Director at Amwins Global Risks, and Head of UK Professional Risks including Professional Indemnity, Cyber, Management Liability Financial Institutions and Medical Malpractice. Sarah has been at Amwins Global Risks for nine years, with 24 years in the market.
What challenges has the Professional Lines Market faced through the Pandemic?
The Professional Lines market was incredibly challenging with most markets seeking to reduce exposure and increase rates to align with what may be defined as the most recent hardening market. This is creating an upturn in the number of excess layers being placed into London. We are also seeing an increase in subscription placements now where insurers are more reserved about deploying maximum capacity.
Well before the Covid-19 pandemic, historically low premiums from overcapacity along with increasing claims cost and frequency, poor investment returns, increased capital adequacy requirements due to Solvency II, increased claims reserving due to the Ogden Report and increasing reinsurance costs were already driving increases in premium generally. And, to top it off, Professional Indemnity was identified as one of the worst performing classes as highlighted in the schematic review conducted by Lloyd’s of London in 2018.
We have seen several insurers withdraw from writing PI due to the aforementioned aspects and a further number looking to reduce the capacity they are offering into the market. Many insurers stated they were not looking to underwrite new business until further notice. Certain industries like Insurance Brokers, Accountants and Surveyors have moved further outside of risk appetite due to the exposure associated with their placements.
What can brokers do to help themselves and their clients?
The key message to brokers is talk to us early so we can help you understand what to expect from the market and manage your clients’ expectations.
Ensure all the information requested on the renewal invitation is provided within the requested timeframe. The proposal form and supporting information are a representation of your client’s business, although we know these can often be lengthy and time consuming. Your client has a duty to make a fair representation of their business. It is extremely important to capture the whole exposure including any claims or circumstances, and a good presentation of this information is a key part of understanding the entire risk profile. We would also encourage sharing any risk management information that your clients may have.
What is the 2022 outlook?
The market remains challenging with insurers still looking for growth in 2022, although there are some indications of it starting to plateau. Certain sectors like Insurance Brokers, Accountants, Architects and Surveyors remain out of appetite for many insurers, however we are hopeful that this will improve, and more capacity will come forward throughout the year. Whilst we appear to be through the worst of the pandemic, with improvements being made in service delivery across the industry, workloads remain high as we continue to experience extended turnaround timeframes in the business we place.
To reiterate, expect a continuation of the challenging Professional Risks market that we have been experiencing, with signs in some sectors of it plateauing. Be reminded the key takeaways for our retail brokers include talking to us early in the process, ensuring all required information is provided and managing your clients’ expectations regarding timelines. Amwins Global Risks is here to support you during this process as we offer you expertise and access to the market.
You are a key member of the Employee Forum and D&I committee. How important are these groups to Amwins and the wider insurance industry?
Both are extremely important to Amwins and the wider insurance industry.
We know that:
- Diversity brings a variety of perspectives, and inclusion empowers people to voice those opinions.
- It’s proven that having a diverse workforce creates innovation, resulting in better financial performance and happier employees.
- Candidates for jobs consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering employment opportunities, which also helps to recruit the right people as the candidate pool expands.
As a female director working within the industry, I feel I play an important role in supporting other female colleagues and creating a more inclusive environment.
The Employee Forum is a great platform for employees to voice their opinions. There have been many items raised that have resulted in Amwins amending procedures, increasing benefits and generally being transparent on topics our employees want to hear about.
I have also extended my role to become a ‘Mental First Aider’ within Amwins Global Risks providing support to colleagues.
What is your key message to people looking to progress or start a career in the insurance industry?
Self-belief and a ‘Go for it’ attitude. It’s true that most people do fall into insurance. But I can honestly say that after 24 years in the industry, if I had to choose again, I wouldn’t pick another. Insurance is a great industry in which to work. There’s so much variety and choice of roles and sectors and, if you work hard, you can almost carve out your own career. I have enjoyed my career to date and was a ‘Women in Insurance’ finalist in 2020, which was a proud moment.
Outside of work, you will find me mainly ferrying around my 5-year-old to his football games or going on long country walks as a family. I love to read and spend time in our garden making it more nature friendly. We release rescued hedgehogs in our garden are lucky to have daily visits from deer, rabbits, pheasants, our resident squirrel family and the Red Kites.
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