Direct Property Underwriting: Dan Gray wraps up 2022
As we near the end of 2022, our Head of Direct Property, Daniel Gray, reflects on the biggest changes the B&C Direct Property Underwriting team, and the wider market have experienced this year. Looking ahead to 2023, Dan outlines our goals and discusses some of the key challenges that the New Year will bring.
With 2022 almost all wrapped up, now seems like the perfect time for me to take stock and share my thoughts on where things are likely heading in 2023. One of the biggest changes to the Direct Property Underwriting team this year has been our exponential growth, with 3 new hires this year the team now stands at 11 members – and we’re currently looking for one more to join us. Along with our excellent new hires, the team has also seen 3 of our members promoted internally, recognising their growing skills and expertise.
The Direct Property team now has 5 underwriters quoting business and is looking to grow the headcount front of house. I’m happy to report that our premium income growth has been significant in the past couple of years, with strong 5-year underwriting results.
The team currently uses a traditional underwriting model, although has one eye on underwriting transformation with its first automated project going live early next year. With more business flowing into the E&S marketplace, and following events in 2022, I expect the team will likely see more business flowing from binding authorities into the transactional space. I expect 2023 will be a challenging year for many due to several reasons, including rising re-insurance costs and inflationary pressures. Fortunately, our team is flexible and will deploy the capacity it has to write this business should we have an appetite for it.
Looking ahead to 2023, part of our team’s strategy is to increase our geographical footprint, seeking business in the central region of the US to complement our CAT writings. We understand this will be difficult, as competitors will also look to do the same, but using a mixture of our existing agency base plus new relationships, we are confident that we can achieve this.
The team is also planning to travel extensively in 2023; we will be attending both the WSIA Underwriting Summit and the WSIA Annual Meeting. But besides these industry events, the team is most looking forward to conducting office visits, which we find to be an invaluable tool for cementing existing relationships and creating new ones. As part of our drive to increase efficiency moving forwards, the team is keenly working on processing changes and enhanced data analytics for next year, with the ultimate goal being to blend our traditional underwriting judgement with new technology to remain agile and flexible and to become more valuable to meet our client’s needs.
As we wrap up 2022 and look to the future, there is no denying that 2023 will be a challenging year - with weather related losses across the industry, combined with costly materials, litigation and labour rates all influencing carrier’s results. But, together with the stability of our paper and with the backing of Munich Re, we feel that we are correctly placed to continue serving our valued customers.