Arrowhead’s Excess & Surplus team, led by SVP Britt Sellers, launched a Primary GL product in May and wrote a six-figure policy on the first day. We sat down with Britt Sellers and Rich Collins, VP of Operations, to learn how they did it—and how they saw success so quickly.
What were you seeing (or not seeing) in the marketplace that helped you decide an additional Primary GL solution was needed?
Sellers: Many MGAs are industry-focused, such as hospitality (bars, restaurants, hotels, etc.), but they won’t write anything else outside of that industry. In a similar fashion, we’ve seen construction MGAs that will only write construction business. If you send them a bar, hotel, or real estate account, they’re not going to write it. So, we saw the need for a versatile and agile GL product that would cover multiple industry sectors with customized solutions.
Here’s a case in point: An agency may send me a hospitality, products, or real estate account that’s tougher to write. We share our terms under which we’re willing to consider their account, but then we also say, “You’re also going to send me that construction opportunity, right?” If we focused on one industry, we wouldn’t be able to do that. We wanted a diversified product that allows us to ebb and flow with the marketplace—what’s currently profitable in various industries.
Did your carrier already supporting Arrowhead’s Excess & Surplus also step up to write Primary GL?
Collins: Yes, Transverse Specialty Insurance Company worked with us last year to create our Fraternity Program and they also write Arrowhead’s All Risk product. As we approached them, we first had to find a reinsurance solution.
Despite the tight reinsurance market, the fact that we were able to successfully garner reinsurance with acceptable guidelines and participation was a significant accomplishment. Placement of the reinsurance was a success due to Arrowhead’s reputation, the professional presentation of our program guidelines/forms and the experience level of our underwriters.
How did you present your case to carriers and reinsurers, and what were your key statements?
Sellers: Our leadership has a significant track record of profit over hard and soft market conditions. We also leveraged our technology, product development, data analytics, technical expertise and underwriting talent. We were able to say, “We’ve got a product that’s armed and ready.”
What was the time frame, from the time that you decided to create a product until the time you launched?
Collins: Due to our commitment to offer comprehensive solutions, it took us 12 months once the right carrier and reinsurers were selected. When we launched on May 9, Britt and his team hit the ground running. They were able to quote and respond quickly.
Sellers: It’s not uncommon to write an account the first day when you’re writing smaller business. Our accounts average premiums of six-plus figures. Achieving success right from the start by binding a $100,000-plus account on day one is quite remarkable and a testament to the Arrowhead team.
What types of accounts have you written so far?
Sellers: Probably 80 percent of our Primary GL product in Arrowhead’s Excess & Surplus book of business right now are construction and real estate accounts. Construction companies are doing business much of the time as subcontractors, working for massive national contractors who have very strict requirements and who are informed buyers. They want to read our policies first before they agree to anything. One of the very important needs we had from day one was to be able to deliver a policy specimen showing how the policy would read, should a quote be bound with Arrowhead E&S GL.
If we had not have been able to deliver on a policy specimen, we would have missed out on our chance to make a solid first impression with our brokers and prospective policyholders. Sending our brokers copies of the coverage forms one by one would have been so labor intensive that we would never have had the level of success we’ve experienced.
We’ve written everything from a $10,000 account (our minimum) to our largest account year-to-date, $630,000 which we wrote in last month.
Collins: When you launch as a new market, if you don’t hit the ground running and do it correctly, brokers have very limited patience and a long memory. The whole program could have failed if we launched too early and weren’t able to respond as quickly and correctly as we did.
Sellers: One of our carriers said to us, “We’re not used to company representatives being so professional and so responsive to data requests as Arrowhead is.” It makes them want to do more business with us. So, kudos to the whole team for the data that’s so easily available to us.
Any stories you can share about the process—specifically challenges you faced and how you overcame them?
Collins: Britt and I spent a significant amount of time researching and developing policy language that made sense from an underwriting perspective and would be acceptable to the marketplace. Britt did some deep research as to what other carriers were doing. As a result, there was a lot of back and forth, and several revisions were made before we finalized the forms and rating needs.
I focused on the legalese, and the support operations team worked on formatting changes to help us put out a professional-looking form. These National Programs teams—everything from Project Management, Commercial Operations and IS, to Business Systems Analysts and Data Science—were able to pivot quickly with all the changes that had to happen so that we could get to the finish line on time—and write our first policy that first day.