Survey Finds Majority of Insurance Carriers View Market as Hardening

     Survey Finds Majority of Insurance Carriers View Market as Hardening

FirstBest Asks About Underwriting, Challenges, Growth and Profitability In
Today's Business Climate

PR Newswire

BEDFORD, Mass., Nov. 6, 2012

BEDFORD, Mass., Nov. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Has insurance truly entered a
long-awaited hard market? Are carriers now in a position to be more selective
about the risks they underwrite, so that they can increase premiums, grow
their business and turn a greater profit? In a nutshell, "Yes," found
FirstBest® Systems, Inc.,  provider of insurance software solutions for global
insurance carriers, which today announced the findings from an industry survey
of insurance carriers primarily focused on commercial lines.

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Insurance industry research in recent months is split. In September 2012,
MarketScout reported that commercial lines rates were up 5% and personal
rates increased 3%. Yet, a panel of insurance executives stated at the
October 2012 Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB) Insurance
Leadership Forum in Colorado that the industry is not experiencing a hard
market just yet. The group said that, while P&C rates are higher on average
and there have been fewer catastrophes, there are areas where rates are
increasing dramatically and others where rate increases are negligible.

To reveal the market reality, FirstBest surveyed insurers over the last few
months to learn how they felt about the business climate. FirstBest received
72 survey responses from professionals with IT and business management
responsibilities. Eighty-five percent of the group indicated that they work
with commercial lines of insurance, with remaining respondents serving
personal lines.

In the survey, when asked "At what stage do you find the market?"  71% of
respondents felt the market was beginning to harden. 18% felt the market was
already hard and only 11% felt the market was still soft.

Then FirstBest asked "As your company positions for the hard market, which
goals top the list below?" Respondents were asked to select up to three
responses. The goals most indicated among the six options were:

  oTo ensure high renewal rate of quality business (64%)
  oTo provide faster service and decision making (40%)
  oTo obtain as many qualified submissions as possible (33%)

When asked "How strategic is underwriting in achieving growth and
profitability in a hard market?," 92% of carriers chose "very Important," with
the remaining 8% selecting "somewhat important."

When asked "As you optimize for the hard market, what is the greatest
challenge for underwriters?," 33% of carriers  indicated they are most
challenged to "analyze risk in less time to get quotes out quickly." 24%
percent indicated "access to data and analytics in order to make smarter
decisions" and 18% indicated "adjust risk appetite on the fly." The remaining
responses each garnered about 8%.

"While we did not include agent and broker responses in the survey findings,
given the response rate was statistically smaller, the sentiment this group
provided was in line with their counterparts at commercial-lines carriers –
that they were experiencing a hardening market even before Hurricane Sandy,"
stated Joseph Pilkerton, Co-Founder and COO, FirstBest Systems.

"The carriers we're working and speaking with understand that a hard market
offers greater opportunities to select new business amid higher volumes of
submissions and to carefully scrutinize their renewals. The FirstBest Front
Office Suite helps carriers to capitalize on these opportunities with an
underwriting desktop that pulls together all information required to make
decisions in less time, and by enabling rigorous underwriting guidelines that
can be rapidly adjusted as market conditions change," he added.

FirstBest Systems, Inc.
FirstBest® Systems is the leading provider of insurance software solutions
that help global insurance companies improve underwriting profitability, scale
their business and achieve high service levels with agents, across the
enterprise. The patented and proven FirstBest Front Office Suite has processed
more than $8 billion in quotes and includes modular underwriting workstation,
agent portal and agency upload applications, with capabilities for mobile
insurance users. Global companies such as XL Group plc, and OneBeacon
Insurance Group rely on FirstBest to improve underwriting efficiencies and
quality, institutionalize knowledge and best practices, and empower everyone
in the process to rapidly quote, collaborate, issue and bind business on a
single real‐time platform − from anywhere. For more information call
+1-781-863-6000 or visit

FirstBest and FirstBest UMS are registered trademarks of FirstBest Systems,
Inc. Underwriting Management System, FirstBest Agent, FirstBest AppReader, and
FirstBest Front-Office Suite are trademarks of FirstBest Systems, Inc.
All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

SOURCE FirstBest Systems, Inc.

Contact: Steve Robins, +1-781-280-6350,
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