Understanding Surplus Lines Insurance: Insuring the Unique and Hard-to-Place

Jun 6, 2024

Insuring high-value homes with unique risks can be daunting for insurance agents relying solely on standard insurance carriers, as they often avoid challenging homeowners risks.

The solution? Surplus lines insurance. It can be an agent’s best secret weapon, serving as an excellent option for high-value clients looking to insure harder-to-place risks. Let’s take a closer look. 

What Is Surplus Lines Insurance?

Surplus lines insurance, also known as excess and surplus lines insurance (E&S) or non-admitted insurance, refers to specialty insurance coverage provided by insurers not licensed or “admitted” to operate in a particular state. These insurers have more flexibility regarding rates, policy forms, and coverage options than heavily regulated admitted insurers. However, this flexibility comes with a trade-off – surplus lines policies lack the protection of state guaranty funds, which provide a safety net for policyholders if an admitted insurer becomes insolvent. 

When Is Surplus Lines Coverage Needed?

Unlike your traditional homeowners insurance, surplus lines insurance is a great solution for homes that have risks considered too high or unconventional for admitted carriers, which can include:

  • Coastal homes in catastrophe areas prone to hurricanes
  • High-risk homes in wildfire-prone areas
  • Homes with prior losses – severity or frequency
  • High-value homes
  • High profile homeowners
  • Homes with unique architectural styles or historical significance 

Key Differences from Admitted Policies

While admitted policies typically provide broad “all-risk” coverage, surplus lines policies tend to be “named peril,” meaning they only cover losses caused by the types of damage that are explicitly listed or named in the policy. Common examples of named perils include:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Windstorm
  • Hail
  • Explosion
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Falling objects

The Surplus Lines Advantage

Access to specialized E&S markets allows agents to craft solutions for complex, unusual risks that admitted carriers may be unable to insure. It also allows you to offer blanket policies for high-value homeowners with multiple properties and a single total insured limit across all locations, providing significant cost savings and ease of policy upkeep. Depending on your clients’ needs, surplus lines coverage is often the only viable option for insuring homes that the admitted market has declined. 

Jencap has long-standing and trusted relationships with the top E&S markets. Our brokers have dedicated their entire careers to hard-to-place Personal Lines insurance and understand all of the unique nuances involved with Surplus Lines insurance. Danny Walsh, Director of Personal Lines at Jencap emphasizes, “It is our job as wholesalers to educate our agents on how the E&S world operates and show them that we can be valued advisors — not just a necessary evil in a hard market.” Tap into Jencap’s industry-leading solutions for your clients and contact us today.

The Jencap Personal Lines Insurance Team

The Jencap Personal Lines Insurance Team

Jencap’s industry-leading personal lines underwriters specialize in high-valued homeowners, primary and excess flood, hard-to-place homeowners, and everything in between. The Jencap personal lines team is the one-stop shop for all your monoline and packed policy needs, with access to 30+ admitted and non-admitted carrier partners.
Excess and Surplus lines insurance | High-risk areas | High-risk homes | homeowners insurance | Specialty insurance



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Your high net-worth clients expect white glove treatment. By partnering with Jencap’s team of personal lines experts, you’ll tap into our unmatched market access and exclusive program offerings to secure the very best coverage available. Our team will provide the knowledge, responsiveness, integrity, and speed to meet the needs of even your most exclusive and discerning clients. We’re proud to specialize in the risks others shy away from, including coastal property, wind, and wildfire prone areas. With Jencap’s size and reach, no account is beyond our team’s capability.

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