The real estate sector consists of many different types of premises-related accounts, including office buildings, shopping centers, malls, industrial warehouses, and apartments. Due to the frequency and severity of losses, habitational properties or apartment schedules are most commonly placed with E&S markets. This also applies to shopping centers and malls that are located in geographic areas where the crime scores are typically higher than the national average, or where the risk has a higher frequency of claims and is suitable for taking a retention and employing an aggressive third party administrator (TPA).
But the majority of real estate accounts placed in the E&S marketplace are multi-location apartment schedules. In recent years, many casualty markets have struggled with being profitable on these risks, and some have stopped underwriting this class entirely. What makes this class so difficult for carriers to be profitable, and why have so many markets either exited the space or tightened their guidelines?
Obviously, profitability is tied to thin rates and/or overly generous claims settling, but there are several other factors when it comes to this class:
1. Unique claims = general liability? Not always.
One factor is that there are so many more unique claims which ultimately get tagged to the general liability (GL) carrier. Just about anything that goes wrong – other than traditional property losses such as fire, wind, flood, etc. – is considered a GL claim. While it used to be that the owner or manager had to be negligent in order for a GL claim to be paid, that’s hardly the case anymore. Carriers have traditionally been the most concerned with “typical” GL claims including slip-and-falls, violent attacks, and sexual assaults; they now have to also deal with unique, obscure claims for which a GL carrier is ultimately held liable. This diminishes any chance of the account being profitable.Read More »Insurance for Multi-Family Real Estate