Ascot US launches private and non-profit primary D&O offering
Ascot US has launched a new primary D&O insurance offering written by a trio of underwriting executives hired from RSUI as it continues to build out its management liability and financial institutions portfolio under divisional head Ryan Becker, The Insurer can reveal.
The new wholesale-only distribution launch for 1 March adds to the suite of management liability and FI coverages available for public, private and non-profit companies through the various Ascot Apex suite of coverages.
Carol Smith, Melanie Osgood and Devon Lay joined from Alleghany’s specialty insurer RSUI last summer as vice presidents for private and non-profit management liability.
As Ascot’s expansive US insurance platform has been building out the primary offering, the new underwriting additions have been writing excess D&O business for private and non-profit insureds.
The primary form targets middle market private and non-profit entities, offering bespoke terms based on individual risk profile. The policies include broad coverage for individuals and corporations including Side A, B and C protection, and can be purchased as standalone or joint cover for D&O, employment practices liability (EPL), and fiduciary protection.
Ascot Apex is available across a broad range of industry groups and risk profiles, targeted at insureds with under $1bn in enterprise value, and can provide up to $5m of limit per coverage for each of D&O, EPL and fiduciary, according to marketing literature from Ascot. The existing excess policy features broad follow-form capabilities over other primary insurers.
In an interview with The Insurer, executive vice president Becker – who joined from Sompo International in October 2019 – said the excess private book Ascot has been building has provided a strong foundation from which to launch its primary strategy.
”We’re still seeing the resetting and reduction of limits in public D&O, and additional rate firming, however to a lesser degree for loss free accounts when compared to 2020. What we’re seeing in the private space is an acceleration of both of those trends, so we think it’s a great entry point for us right now”
Ascot US EVP for management liability and financial institutions Ryan Becker on the market opportunity
“It’s next in the evolution of product development. We first responded to the market dislocation by focusing on an excess product launch, managed by experienced underwriters, so we could respond very quickly.
“Our primary offering is the natural next step, and we have tailored the primary Apex form to be responsive to this current market environment,” he commented.
Becker said that market dynamics for primary private management liability are showing indications similar to those seen in the public space in late 2018 and early 2019.
“We’re still seeing the resetting and reduction of limits in public D&O, and additional rate firming, however to a lesser degree for loss free accounts when compared to 2020.”
“What we’re seeing in the private space is an acceleration of both of those trends, so we think it’s a great entry point for us right now. This allows us to leverage our expertise to meet another client need,” the executive continued.
The RSUI hires followed the addition of Matthew Niehaus and Steven Marciniak from Beazley last May as vice presidents in the public management liability space, also reporting to Crystal Greene, who joined in December 2019 from Liberty as senior vice president and head of management liability.
Ascot US entered the financial institutions market segment with the recruitment of Kenny Li from The Hartford in October 2019 as senior vice president and head of financial institutions, and added Geoff Twombly, also from The Hartford, last January as an assistant vice president.
Becker said that the private and non-profit primary D&O product won’t be the last to be rolled out on the management liability and FI platform.
“It’s about bringing new and innovative products to our wholesalers at the right time - products that give them a different edge. There will be more products introduced to the market in the months ahead, as we continue to see pockets of opportunity for Ascot,” he commented.
The executive said that Ascot US will look to expand across its product offerings in management liability and FI and will look to hire more underwriters in both the private and public segments.
In an interview with this publication last summer, Ascot’s group president Jonathan Zaffino said he was looking to rapidly scale the company’s North American platforms and build out a technology focused “modern-era” (re)insurer.
In less than three years Ascot US has added teams across both its specialty and financial lines portfolios, including: ocean marine, inland marine, environmental, excess casualty, trade credit, legal professional liability, SME casualty, cyber and professional liability, portfolio solutions and E&S casualty – as well as Becker’s growing management liability and FI operation.