A Firm Foundation: How Insurance Supports the Economy

Surplus lines by state

The surplus lines market, a group of highly specialized insurers exists to provide coverage that is not available through licensed insurers in the standard insurance market. Each state has surplus lines regulations and each surplus lines company is overseen for solvency by its home state. A number of states maintain lists of eligible surplus lines companies and some keep a list of those that are not eligible to do business in that state. In addition, depending on the state, the surplus lines agent or broker, who must be licensed, is responsible for checking the eligibility of the company.

For the many thousands of businesses that rely on some level of surplus line protection to keep their doors open, surplus lines is an important segment of the market.

Lloyd’s of London is a significant writer of surplus lines insurance, both for corporations and individuals. Lloyd’s members conduct their insurance business in syndicates, each of which is run by a managing agent. This type of structure differs from a traditional insurance company. According to AM Best, in 2018 the Lloyd’s market represented 23.6 percent of the total surplus lines market share and wrote $11.8 billion in surplus lines premiums, as shown in the chart below. Because of its unique structure, AM Best does not include Lloyd’s in the ranking. The largest surplus lines for Lloyd’s are commercial property, general liability, cyber and professional indemnity.

Top 25 U.S. Surplus Lines Groups By Direct Premiums Written, 2019

($000)

Rank Group Direct premiums written Percent of total
U.S. surplus lines market
  Lloyd's Market (1) $12,477,000 22.5%
1 American International Group 2,946,471 5.3
2 Markel Corporation Group 2,747,110 5.0
3 Berkshire Hathaway Ins. Group 2,341,442 4.2
4 W. R. Berkley Insurance Group 2,048,959 3.7
5 Nationwide Group 2,034,571 3.7
6 Fairfax Financial (USA) Group 1,764,026 3.2
7 Chubb INA Group 1,649,400 3.0
8 AXA U.S. Group 1,582,356 2.9
9 Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies 1,510,361 2.7
10 Alleghany Insurance Holdings Group 1,057,411 1.9
11 James River Group 949,659 1.7
12 Argo Group 948,881 1.7
13 Tokio Marine U.S. PC Group 895,637 1.6
14 Starr International Group 872,251 1.6
15 Sompo Holdings U.S. Group 858,741 1.5
16 Zurich Financial Services Group NA 813,298 1.5
17 QBE Americas Group 810,066 1.5
18 AXIS U.S. Operations 770,726 1.4
19 Hartford Insurance Group 729,707 1.3
20 Great American P&C Group 688,103 1.2
21 Swiss Reinsurance Group 676,036 1.2
22 CNA Insurance Companies 613,541 1.1
23 Everest Re U.S. Group 584,836 1.1
24 Arch Insurance Group 567,964 1.0
25 Aspen U.S. Insurance Group 544,148 1.0
  Total, top 25 $31,005,711 78.4%
  Total U.S. surplus lines market $55,484,985 100.0%

(1) Because Lloyd's Market company structure differs from traditional insurance companies, AM Best does not include it in the ranking in this chart.

Source: AM Best. Used with permission.

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