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Issues & Answers Special Advertising Section:
 March 2022

Issues & Answers: The PHLY Difference

David Harrell, Vice President of Excess Casualty, Philadelphia Insurance Cos., said speed of service is paramount to the company’s overall business. “That is our absolute focus: making sure that we’re able to get to the broker as quickly as possible,” he said. Following are excerpts from an interview.

David Harrell
Vice President of Excess Casualty
Philadelphia Insurance Cos.

“We expect the surplus lines market to continue to grow in 2022, just maybe at a slower pace.”

What does the current E&S market look like?

We expect the surplus lines market to continue to grow in 2022, just maybe at a slower pace. The growth will continue to come from former standard market business that entered the E&S market due to various changes, such as appetites, lower capacity offerings and rate increases. Overall, we think that excess will continue to experience the growth pretty much in the same manner with businesses continuing to move out of standard markets with continued risk appetite changes and underwriting profitability results, of course. PHLY specifically attributes our growth over the periods to these opportunities that have been created by that market change.

What are the challenges that you see in the overall marketplace in 2022?

This is and always will be a relationship business. In some ways, the pandemic interrupted our ability to consistently stay in contact with our business partners. The challenge has been trying to find ways to stay relevant to our agents and brokers, especially when you’re out marketing a placement. In the case of morale for the team, that’s been a concern. It’s something that we felt that we needed to address because people always, frankly, didn’t have the greatest time working from home. Some people also felt isolated. We had to find ways to go about and be creative to make everyone feel the same way it would if we could be in the office and seeing each other every day.

How is PHLY E&S addressing those challenges?

One way is to embrace the new technology; all types of virtual platforms that we have that will allow us to have face-to-face contact. We’ve hosted interactive webinars where it allows us to not just talk at our agents and brokers but allowed them to ask questions of us, just like we would in a normal format. We’ve also held virtual happy hours with them. We just are constantly trying to find ways that we’re able to use the technology to make people feel as normal as possible.

How will PHLY differentiate itself in 2022?

Speed of service is paramount to our overall business. In the past, we were able to respond to brokers and agents quickly. That is our absolute focus: making sure that we’re able to get to the broker as quickly as possible. For example, in the past, in the way that our business works, we may have been able to wait for all of the quotes to come in or all of the questions to be answered before we offered our premium option. What we’ve been doing is really trying to speed that up. My team has split things up into what are the wants and what are the needs and addressing the needs first, being able to get that information—then that allows us to be able to release an indication, a quote, whatever the nature of that will be. If we find out that that is competitive, then we will create the quote and search for the wants that we have to complete the documentation of the overall file.