A new year marks a new beginning, with hope, anticipation, and curiosity for what the coming months may bring. And in a dynamic industry like insurance, you never know with absolute certainty what might be just beyond the horizon. Stepping into 2024, we asked Jencap’s specialized brokers across all product lines to weigh in on emerging insurance trends and what they anticipate for the year ahead. Here’s what they shared:
Canaan Crouch, Managing Director
As always, the environmental market continues to evolve alongside the ever-changing realities of environmental risks related to climate change, pollution/contamination exposures, environmental regulations and restrictions, and more. Emerging exposures, as well as advances in insurance technologies, will continue to create opportunities for new environmental products in 2024. And although we saw some relief in 2023 from catastrophic weather events, compared to previous years, the overall increases in event severity and frequency have left their marks on carrier appetites, and we’ll see them continue to guard themselves against significant losses.
Here are a few notable trends to watch for in the coming year:
- Ethylene oxide (EtO), a colorless gas used to make a range of products like antifreeze and some adhesives, is popping up on carriers’ radars as a potentially costly exposure.
- PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) policy restrictions are becoming the norm.
- We’ll see increased exposures to contaminants being carried and spread due to unprecedented and unexpected storm surges and flooding.
2. Professional Lines
Deborah Dioguardi, Professional Lines National Practice Leader
We are expecting to see some stabilization in the professional lines marketplace in general with insurance carriers expanding their appetites and increasing capacity. That said, here are a few things to watch:
- Thanks to a positive outlook for venture capital funding, startup companies are anticipating successful fundraising — which can increase exposure for both the VC firms and funded companies alike.
- Insurers are preparing to see a continued rise in ransomware claims and cyber terrorism attempts, as cyber criminals continue to adapt and evolve their techniques to evade existing security measures.
- Increase in risk with geopolitical and international exposures.
Joel Troisi, President of Property Division
This next year will be a bit of a nail-biter for the property market. Year after year, we’ve seen rising premiums and shrinking capacity, but we may have reached an inflection point. We expect 2024 to be a year of “transition,” with many incumbent markets no longer automatically wielding the upper hand. New players are entering the market and shaking things up by undercutting incumbent pricing and increasing overall market capacity, which opens up a lot more opportunity for insureds to renegotiate at renewal.
4. Workers’ Compensation
Jeff Sandy, Vice President of Workers’ Compensation
The workers’ compensation (WC) market will remain soft in 2024, but due to inflation and increased medical pricing, we can expect to see some trending toward a harder market. Here’s what to watch for:
- The NCCI recently made changes to improve the accuracy and fairness of their experience modification factor (e-mod), an algorithm used to determine WC pricing, and those changes will start to affect insureds this year. While this is intended to have an overall “premium neutral” effect market-wide, some businesses will feel the changes more acutely than others.
- Claim severity is impacting bottom lines, forcing carriers to tighten up. Some states — like New York, New Jersey, and California — are already trending in this direction, and the rest of the U.S. isn’t far behind.
- We’ve experienced consistent double-digit rate decreases over the past few years, which is beginning to prompt many carriers to offset their loss in their rate filings.
- The current healthcare worker shortage increases the time it takes for injured workers to get the care they need, which leads to longer recovery times and delays in returning to work — in turn leading to increased WC claim amounts.
- On a more positive note, we’re seeing some increases in capacity within the WC space through insurtech (“insurance tech”), which uses technology innovations, such as AI and complex data analytics, to develop better and more cost-effective insurance products.
Joe Hayes, Managing Director
Social inflation and nuclear verdicts continue to drive high claims within the casualty market, and this is prompting some concern among reinsurers around rate adequacy. If reinsurers opt to pull capacity from the liability lines, we could see some casualty market hardening in the year to come. General liability, auto liability, WC, excess WC, umbrella liability, and excess liability are all expected to see increases of at least a few percentage points. That said, the property and casualty market remains well-capitalized overall, which may help keep things in balance and reduce the risk of any sudden market shifts.
Mike Yovino, Executive Vice President
We’ve seen an increase in overall project costs, compared to years past. As project costs go up, there’s a corresponding increase in insurance pricing to adequately cover project value. There are a few things that continue to drive those increases, including:
- Labor shortages: Labor shortages have impacted the construction industry from coast to coast for the past several years. 80% of construction companies find it challenging to hire for their projects. Unfortunately, there are no signs that things will be any different in 2024. Many construction companies have increased their base pay and benefits as a way to attract more skilled workers; this drives up total project costs.
- Material price increases: Supply chain disruptions post-pandemic have eased, but material costs remain higher than they were in the past, which makes projects more expensive to complete.
There are some glimmers of hope on the horizon for more favorable conditions, however. Although we expect that the increased interest rates that have impacted project owners’ abilities to start projects and accurately estimate project costs will remain high throughout the early part of the year, we may see some relief and lower rates toward the back half of 2024.
Roman Atkielski, Transportation Practice Leader
Within transportation, we’re expecting to see a bit of a mixed bag of trends across the various lines this year. Public auto and business auto products, for instance, are expected to see growth, while the commercial auto industry is bracing itself in anticipation for continued economic and social inflation. Across the board, carriers will be paying keen attention to safety and loss control measures as the primary means for managing risks, increasing motor carrier operational revenues, and reducing the overall number of claims entering the court systems.
8. Program Management
Mike Schofield, Jencap Program Administrator’s Chief Revenue Officer
Rate increases will persist across most lines of business within program management. In addition, throughout 2024, carriers will continue to recognize program administrators as strategic partners for the growth and deployment of capital. Program administrators will adopt more advanced analytic tools and machine learning algorithms to improve the quality of risk selection to enhance program profitability. Finally, we expect to see emerging technologies continue to drive innovations around rating, underwriting, policy administration, insurance process workflows, customer service, and more.
9. Personal Lines
Danny Walsh, Senior Vice President
2024 may see homeowners needing to turn to the excess and surplus market for coverage, as admitted carriers attempt to guard against losses and shed exposures. This next year will also highlight the need for expertise from specialty brokers to address the risk exposures and needs within the high-net-worth (HNW) wholesale market. In particular, HNW insureds will continue to need support navigating the E&S landscape, renewal premiums and capacity issues, despite some potential market softening.
Erich Schutz, Cannabis National Practice Leader
As an overall trend, insurance capacity is increasing in the cannabis market, which is encouraging to see in this ever-evolving industry. Property capacity has improved, compared to recent years, but we expect to see some tightening in appetite in 2024 due to reinsurance terms and conditions. For example, underwriters will be looking more closely at cultivation lighting, equipment breakdown on business income and extra expense insurance, and fire protections. For equipment breakdown, we will need to write primary/excess towers or write a primary, which is exciting progress because reinsurers previously only wanted to consider full limit equipment breakdown or none at all.
Jencap, Your 2024 Go-To Wholesale Partner
No matter what the future of insurance has in store, Jencap’s specialty brokers and underwriters are poised and ready to support our agency partners and their clients. As always, we’ll continue to offer our time-tested expertise, unmatched market access, and exceptional customer service to protect our clients and their assets from whatever may lie ahead. Our subject matter experts continue to stay informed about the latest trends and forecasts, examining how these changes will impact the insurance industry and our agency partners. Contact us today to learn how you can put Jencap to work for you and your clients in 2024.