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The State of the Hard Real Estate Insurance Market and the Importance of Underwriter Comfort

Steve Carey, CAWC March 28, 2023

With the hard insurance market continuing what may soon be a historical run, property owners across asset classes are clamoring to gain clarity and control of their terms and premiums.

This hard market has many contributing factors, including rising replacement costs, capacity going down as losses pile up, and supply chain disruption driving business income claims higher.

The shortage of skilled workers is impacting both the insurance market and property values. In addition, property values are feeling the pinch of inflation. For years, carriers would replace a building at current costs, even when the client was paying premiums on an outdated property value. Not anymore.

Mother Nature is changing the rules. As hurricanes move further up the East Coast and tornadoes hit new locations, historical underwriting data is no longer totally relevant.

In addition to all of this, many carriers renewed their insurance on the properties they insure and saw large increases in premiums and lower capacity for writing new business. Insurers will take on fewer accounts and at higher premiums.

Even as these challenges compound and insurers crack down, some accounts are receiving the best possible terms the market has to offer. Now is a good time to reevaluate your insurance portfolio.

Renewal Strategy

There are several steps you can take to get the necessary coverage for your property at the best rates.

  1. Start early. The earlier you begin the process, the more options you will have. Ideally risk management is a year-round process.
  2. Tell your story. Work with your broker to tell the story you want the markets to hear. Have your properties been appraised? Can you discuss cost per square foot and methodology of the calculation?  Underwriters want to know the cost trend is being applied to the correct starting figure. Pay attention to the details!
  3. Embrace the priority recommendations. Work hand-in-hand with your agency’s loss control team to address any unresolved, aged life safety and human element recommendations that would affect pricing pressures or non-renewal notices. The days are over when people could ignore recommendations to reduce risk and still get coverage, but there are often creative and low-cost solutions to carrier recommendations.
  4. Explain your losses. Each large loss should come with a narrative of what happened, lessons learned and what you’ve done to ensure it won’t happen again.

A good broker will be honest about the difficulties you face and the expected increases in your renewal. They will also explain challenges within the market that might impact your renewal.

The experienced Property & Casualty team at Oswald will uncover your story, take your account to market, and explore all creative alternatives to gain the best coverage and rates for you.

This article originally appeared on

For more information, please contact me directly or learn more on our Property & Casualty page.

Steve CareySteve Carey, CAWC
Risk Strategist, Property & Casualty



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