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Survey Report

Insurance Marketplace Realities 2021 Spring Update – Construction

April 21, 2021

Rates continue to rise across all lines of business and geographies.
Rate predictions
  Trend Range
General liability: Increase (Purple triangle pointing up) +5% to +20%
Auto liability and physical damage: Increase (Purple triangle pointing up) +5% to +15%
Workers compensation: Neutral decrease increase (green triangle pointing down, yellow line, purple triangle pointing up) Flat to +5%
Umbrella (lead): Increase (Purple triangle pointing up) +50% to +75%
Excess: Increase (Purple triangle pointing up) +50% to +150% (or more - depending on operations, geography, risk profile)
Project-specific builders risk: Increase (Purple triangle pointing up) +5% to +15%
Master builders risk/contractors block programs (renewable business): Increase (Purple triangle pointing up) +10% to +20%
Professional liability: Neutral decrease increase (green triangle pointing down, yellow line, purple triangle pointing up) Flat to +10%
Contractors pollution liability: Neutral decrease increase (green triangle pointing down, yellow line, purple triangle pointing up) Flat to +10%
Project-specific/controlled insurance programs: Increase (Purple triangle pointing up) +5% to +15%; +10% to +25% for excess
Subcontractor default insurance: Increase (Purple triangle pointing up) +5% to +10%

Key takeaway

While the overall acceleration in rate increases suffered over the last two years may be mitigating, rates generally continue to rise across all lines of business and all geographies.

As the construction business normalizes, exposures will increase, maintaining upward pricing pressure.

  • With the COVID-19 pandemic beginning to wane, many contractors are seeing projects that were shut down, mothballed or delayed during the pandemic begin to come back online, raising exposures, such as contract revenues, payrolls and potentially increased vehicle counts.
  • These increased exposures will be met in the insurance marketplace with continued increases in pricing.

While we expect continued rate increases across all geographies and lines of business, it should be noted that these rate predictions are national averages.

  • They are not predictive of an individual program renewal or the insurance cost attributable to a specific project.
  • Operational exposures, historical loss experience, risk management protocols implemented by the contractor, geography of operation as well as historical pricing remain critical factors that can significantly impact renewals or individual project pricing.

Construction risk managers should consider several proactive steps.

  • Employ analytical tools to evaluate the efficacy of current program structures. As exposure bases may have fluctuated during the pandemic, it is critical to refresh all analytical modeling. Do not rely upon historical model outputs since key program components such as loss forecasts and collateral requirements are significantly influenced by exposure data.
  • The increased use of video conferencing has made it more efficient to meet with insurers; contractors should use this technology to strengthen relationships with incumbent insurance carriers. Introduce key stakeholders from your organization. Raise credibility by connecting ownership and senior leadership of your organization to your insurance carrier partners.
  • Take time to develop new relationships outside of a marketing effort. In a highly dynamic market, it is critically important to have potential market alternatives. It is not easy to develop a relationship with a potential carrier while negotiating a challenging renewal or project pricing terms.
  • In addition to providing comprehensive and accurate renewal data, allow ample time for the renewal or project underwriting process. Begin the renewal process a minimum of 180 days prior to program expiration.
  • Any project that was delayed or shut down during the pandemic will require a review of program pricing. Given current market conditions and especially in circumstances where an insurance carrier is no longer viable or has exited the construction market, obtaining extensions has become exceedingly challenging and costly.
  • Consider use of alternative risk transfer (ART) program structures: begin discussions very early, as much as a year prior to renewal, as use of ART structures may involve a lengthy education process for internal stakeholders, owners and insurance carrier partners.

General liability (GL)

Rates in the construction general liability marketplace continue to trend higher. However, the rate of increase appears to be moderating across North America.

  • To attract lead umbrella capacity, many contractors have been forced to compete for their primary casualty placements. The increased competition for primary casualty has helped to slow the pace of primary GL rate increases for contractors with a quality risk profile.
  • Risks with challenging exposures, such as wildfire, street and road construction, or with historically adverse loss experience continue to suffer steep increases.
  • Underwriting scrutiny and information requirements continue to escalate. Construction underwriters have experienced a significant increase in submission flow, making risk differentiation more critical than ever. Poor submission quality, lack of comprehensive underwriting data or unreasonable timing expectations will almost certainly result in a poor marketing outcome.
    • New carriers may require even more extensive underwriting data and significant lead time.
    • All applicable analytical tools should be utilized and refreshed with new data.
    • As exposures and loss experience may have fluctuated due to the economic and construction downturn due to COVID-19, it is more critical than ever to revise all forecasts, loss projections, collateral requirements, etc.
    • Carriers are actively seeking best-in-class risks.
    • Take advantage of virtual meetings to engage multiple stakeholders in the renewal process. Carrier capability presentations that include members of a buyer’s leadership (owner, president, CFO) significantly increase the perceived credibility of the opportunity to the carrier, which in turn increases the likelihood of obtaining competitive terms, particularly with new carriers.
    • Similarly, strong incumbent relationships should not be taken for granted. If anticipating a challenging renewal, buyers should reengage with the leadership team at the incumbent market.
    • Loss control visits have moved to a virtual platform in many cases, so advance preparation for these discussions is key — get the right people on the line after supplying supplementary documentation to facilitate a more productive dialogue.

Auto liability

Year-over-year percentage increases have leveled, but rates are still climbing. Better-than-average loss ratios with small, lighter fleets will see the lower end of this range (+5%). Poor loss ratios or large, heavy fleets will see the higher range (+15%) or above. Jurisdictional considerations (e.g., Cook County, IL, Southern California, Florida) can also impact the level of increase.

  • Q4 2020 saw an average rate increase of 13.44%, marking four consecutive quarters with double-digit increases (Q4 Willis Towers Watson 2020 Casualty State of the Market).
  • According to AM Best, 2020’s auto liability combined ratio stood at 109 despite double-digit, year-over-year increases in premiums. The growth in incurred losses and loss adjustment expenses outpaced premium hikes; 2020 was the tenth consecutive year with a combined ratio more than 100 for commercial auto. 
  • AM Best reported that 2019 was the auto liability segment’s worst accident year in a decade, as losses reached $4 billion.
  • Commercial auto insurers have pushed price increases for 37 consecutive quarters with no indication of reversing course. While miles driven are down because of COVID-19, loss severity continues to increase Q4 Willis Towers Watson 2020 Casualty State of the Market).
  • Auto physical damage pricing continues to rise, often faster than auto liability pricing. Comprehensive and collision claims can escalate quickly due to increased technology in vehicles — as we often say, a bumper is no longer just a bumper; it is also a sensor and a camera.
    • Auto physical damage deductibles for comprehensive and collision are also climbing, with some carriers setting a minimum of $2,500 for light trucks.
    • For autos priced at $50,000 or more, deductibles could be as much as $5,000; the higher the cost new, the higher the deductible.
  • Fleet size has become a significant component of underwriting evaluation, attachment point and pricing.
    • Insurance buyers with moderate to large schedules (excess of 500 units) may be forced to increase primary limits to a minimum $2 million combined single limit (CSL) or obtain an auto liability buffer layer to enable them to purchase excess coverage.
    • Vehicle usage data (miles driven, location, etc.) is becoming required submission information.
    • Buyers must be proactive regarding fleet safety. Those with robust driver safety programs are generally able to obtain more competitive pricing.
  • Poor experience in other casualty lines (general liability and/or workers compensation) may exacerbate overall program pricing increases as carriers are unable to offset auto pricing increases. Few carriers are willing to write monoline auto liability, leaving a limited marketplace for those placements.
  • More claims are being litigated, with verdict outcomes often in seven or eight figures.
    • High-value verdicts mainly stem from traumatic brain injury claims (TBI), negligent entrustment/driver selection, distracted driving and the influence of social justice movements. Eight-figure nuclear verdicts are startlingly common.
    • A rise in third-party litigation finance is further encouraging lawsuits.
  • Auto concerns are not just relevant to practice programs. In controlled insurance programs (CIPs) or project-specific policies, contractors on site are generally responsible for providing comprehensive automobile liability insurance.
    • While coverage can usually be provided by the contractor’s practice policy, hired and non-owned coverage is increasingly not included, or limits are inadequate. In these scenarios, we may recommend adding the coverage into a project CIP.

Workers compensation

Workers compensation rates for contractors continue to hold steady across the U.S. Contractors with strong risk management and safety protocols, along with favorable loss experience, should continue to see flat to limited rate increases.

  • While the marketplace for workers compensation remains stable, buyers will find it harder to off-set premium increases in other lines, notably general liability and commercial automobile, with reductions in workers compensation.
  • While workers compensation carriers are closely monitoring the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on losses, rate increases attributable to the pandemic have yet to materialize.
  • Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, construction has been generally considered a critical industry, so workers compensation exposures, payroll and the respective workers compensation classifications have not been significantly impacted.
  • While other industries may have benefitted from an increase in the use of telecommuting, this was of course not applicable to construction.
  • Reduced access to medical care attributable to COVID-19 may extend the duration of a workers compensation claim, potentially driving up overall costs.
  • Workers compensation continues to perform well in the aggregate; however, there are signs that construction could encounter difficulties ahead.
    • The construction industry continues to have the highest incidence of workplace fatalities of any industry (S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
    • Since 1999, indemnity claim severity has increased by 85% (Willis Towers Watson Q4 2020 Casualty State of the Market).
    • Addiction, suicide and the overall deteriorating mental health of the construction labor force continue to present serious challenges.
  • The availability of qualified, experienced laborers continues to be problematic. Should contractors be forced to rely on less experienced employees or an aging workforce, an increase in workplace injuries could result.
  • Markets are still demonstrating a broad appetite for workers compensation construction opportunities, but program complexity continues to grow.
    • While there are some monoline workers compensation carriers, overall carrier interest and competitiveness are markedly increased when workers’ compensation is combined with other primary casualty lines.
    • While the overall workers compensation market is reasonably stable, some geographies continue to be challenging, e.g., California, Florida, New Jersey and New York. In New York, underwriters are especially guarded due to labor laws.
    • As the market for most lines of business has significantly hardened over the last two years, many contractors have been forced to reevaluate their insurance program structures. Many have opted for increasing deductibles or retentions to off-set overall premium increases. While this has been a strategy deployed by many, it should only be considered after comprehensive review of analytical data. When increasing deductibles, significant consideration should be given to adding clash deductibles and aggregate stop losses to limit program volatility.
    • Exploring alternatives should not just be about changing retentions and carriers. Investments in new or emerging pre-loss risk control strategies should be evaluated. Ergonomics, employee wellness, mental health initiatives — these programs can both improve workers compensation results and raise employee satisfaction and retention.

Umbrella/excess liability

While new capacity has recently come into the umbrella and excess marketplace, and the pace of rate increases may be decelerating, contractors have yet to see any meaningful relief. Contractors are also experiencing significant restrictions in coverage. We expect these conditions to continue throughout 2021.

  • With the number of insurance carriers willing to write unsupported lead umbrellas (i.e., where the same carrier does not write the primary casualty) falling nearly to zero, many contractors have been forced to market their primary casualty program in an effort to attract additional lead capacity.
  • Contractors have been forced to consider non-admitted umbrella and excess markets to obtain competitive options. While these non-admitted options provide basic coverage and limits, they often come with more restrictive coverage, including communicable disease exclusions and anti-stacking limitations.
  • While individual risk selection is important, many excess underwriters have become heavily focused on the relative pricing of their applicable quoted layer. Greater attention is being given to the pricing “per $million” of coverage provided by carriers below their respective layer than to the pricing of the individual risk itself.
  • Carriers are gravitating toward underwriting on a portfolio level as opposed to underwriting on the merits of an individual account. This leads to the class/type of construction being the primary focus of the carriers’ underwriting and pricing.
  • To fill out large excess towers, buyers are seeing carriers quota share individual layers as the carriers look to reduce their total exposure and share it with others. This often results in increased pricing because finding quota share partners at equal pricing for a respective layer may be difficult. Synchronizing coverage terms in a quota share arrangement can also be a challenge.
  • Recent significant increases in the pricing of lead umbrella and lower excess layers has not resulted in a significant increase in the number of carriers willing to offer terms.
  • Terms and conditions once easily obtained, such as excess of wrap, have become increasingly challenging and/or expensive to obtain. For excess wrap, the contractor must be able to provide comprehensive data pertaining to historical involvement in wrap-ups to obtain even a modicum of coverage. Further, anti-stacking endorsements and manifestation and communicable disease exclusions have become exceedingly difficult to remove. Primary and excess carriers are also limiting the overall capacity extended to an individual buyer by capping per-project aggregate limits; some direct umbrella/excess markets are now unwilling to provide per-project aggregates at all.

Controlled insurance programs (CIPs)

A combination of natural disasters, social inflation and a trend toward nuclear verdicts have driven CIP pricing upward, and this is expected to continue through 2021. In general, capacity is shrinking, and carriers are being strategic about how they deploy it.

  • Carriers are being inundated with submissions (submission flow is up 60%), so they are selective with terms and conditions, capacity and will price risks accordingly. Preparing a clear and detailed submission is crucial.
  • For rolling programs buyers are finding it more difficult to obtain favorable terms and conditions. Furthermore, carriers are beginning to restrict open enrollment and specify a set number of projects over the policy term.
  • Term extensions for projects delayed by COVID-19 are generally negotiable. However, obtaining extensions on placements with carriers/facilities that have either exited the project space or heavily utilized reinsurance in the original placement can be exceedingly costly to obtain.
  • Carriers are cutting back significantly on their willingness to offer large limits. Only a handful of carriers offer a full $25 million in the first $50 million of a tower. Quota share program structures are becoming prevalent.
  • Reinsurance rates continue to increase, as the industry has paid out losses due to natural disasters, COVID-19, wildfires, hurricanes and riots.
  • Residential capacity continues to tighten, especially for wood frame apartments and for-sale condos.
  • Buyers need to involve a larger number of carriers to fill out excess towers. This exacerbates pricing increases.
  • Certain geographies (New York, Florida and California) are considered tougher states for condominiums, and capacity for those geographies has been reduced. Other states may feel the trickle-down effect from carriers pulling back — meaning fewer players in the states that traditionally haven’t faced these pressures.
  • Terms and conditions are tightening, as carriers are no longer providing broad terms, i.e., term limits or one-time reinstatements versus annual reinstatements.
  • Regarding COVID-19, most carriers now require communicable disease exclusions, which are difficult if not impossible to remove.
  • Policy term extensions are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain — often resulting in significant additional cost and reductions in coverage grants.
  • Liability rates for CIPs are increasing by 5% to 15% for less complicated projects, with most of the price increase being driven by the cost of umbrella and excess towers. More complicated projects with difficult exposures will experience larger rate increases in both primary coverage and excess.

Builders risk

The builders risk market has morphed into a two-tiered market — most new, ground-up construction projects are seeing relatively competitive terms and conditions, while the market is proving difficult for any project with unique or challenging exposures.

  • Projects that have significant natural catastrophe exposures, unique construction methods and technologies, poor general contractor loss experience, etc., are seeing restrictive terms and higher pricing. In addition, renewable programs should expect continued rate increases and/or changes to terms and conditions.
    • Gathering considerable and accurate underwriting information is a prerequisite to obtain quotes and is adding to lengthy quote turnaround times. Furthermore, underwriters are pressing harder for subjectivities to be satisfied prior to binding.
    • Carriers remain focused on raising water damage deductibles. To assure contract certainty and potentially avoid non-compliance with construction contract obligations, clients should thoroughly review all contractual requirements pertaining to acceptable water damage deductible levels prior to executing contracts.
    • Carriers are reluctant to offer coverage extensions such as LEG 3 and damage to existing property on certain projects. If and when offered, higher rates and/or deductibles usually apply.
    • The pandemic has prompted remote claim handling and inspections that were formerly executed on the ground at project sites. This has driven the need for carriers and insureds to adopt new reporting technologies and data security control.
    • Extensions for ongoing projects continue to be the most challenging aspect of the marketplace, as COVID-19 further disrupts more and more projects.
      • Project schedules are constantly changing due to the pandemic.
      • All extensions are difficult, even for buyers with no losses. Factors that contribute to a worsening of extension terms include prior losses, heavy cat exposures, changes from original scope, lengthy extensions, quota share structures and significant facultative reinsurance support.
      • Carriers are pushing significant rate and deductible changes, removing or reducing certain coverages, and in some cases simply walking away from projects.
      • Buyers must plan for any planned extension need and gather as much up-to-date and accurate information about the reason(s) for the extension as possible. It’s never too early to begin the dialogue with carriers.
    • The wood frame market continues to be challenging as several large fires in 2020 and early on in 2021 will put further pressure on an already tough class of business.
      • Rates remain on an upward trajectory and we expect that to continue through first half of 2021.
      • Although there is some new capacity, overall market capacity has declined because several carriers have either decreased their appetite or exited the space entirely.
      • Reinsurance costs are also adding upward pressure on rates.
      • Robust project site security measures continue to be pushed by carriers. Depending on the size and scope of the project, these measures (including approved third-party surveillance) may be mandated.

Professional liability

The construction professional indemnity/liability market remains relatively competitive, although carriers are evaluating capacity deployment and retention levels and increasing underwriting scrutiny relative to certain coverage enhancements.

  • The market is continuing to show signs of hardening in some areas, creating some challenges for contractors. For 2021, we expect rates will remain flat to +10%, with increases of more than 10% for contractors with adverse loss experience.
  • Adequate capacity and continued competition are keeping rate increases manageable compared to other P&C insurance lines. However, we are starting to see upward pressure on rates and retentions, especially for project-specific capacity.
    • Total U.S. capacity continues to be in excess of $300 million, with additional capacity available through London, Bermuda and other international markets.
    • While there is still significant total capacity in the market, carriers are generally restricting capacity for any one risk.
    • Protective indemnity and rectification coverages are now included in standard forms offered by key carriers, but terms and limits can vary considerably, and we are seeing added underwriting scrutiny for these enhancements.
    • Some underwriting authority is being removed from the field, leading to a longer underwriting process.
    • Professional liability coverage has generally not been impacted by COVID-19; however, project delays due to the pandemic are creating some challenges with policy term extensions and extended reporting periods on project-specific placements.
    • Some carriers are beginning to add COVID-19/communicable disease exclusions, more commonly for programs with combined contractors professional and pollution liability forms. Wording varies greatly from market to market, with some limiting the exclusion specifically to COVID-19, some including broad viral exclusions and some limiting the exclusion to pollution coverage only.  
  • Project-specific placement solutions vary based on the party (contractor/engineer/owner) procuring the insurance; regardless, we are seeing increased underwriting scrutiny, motivating brokers and underwriters to find innovative solutions for evolving contract structures.
    • Market capacity for architects and engineers (AE) project-specific solutions has contracted, especially for large project-specific placements. At least one major market has reduced its capacity by 80%.
    • Many carriers in the contractor’s professional liability market are reserving project-specific capacity for existing clients.
    • Large design/build infrastructure projects continue to produce adverse loss experience for the AE market, creating risk allocation challenges for contractors, particularly when employing design-build contract delivery.
    • Buyers can expect underwriting scrutiny of coverage enhancements, such as rectification/mitigation. Underwriters are also conducting detailed contract reviews related to insurance requirements, limitations of liability and contractor assumption of design responsibilities.
  • Challenging market conditions continue in London, Australia and the rest of the world. The restricted capacity and price increases that have been experienced the last few years are expected to continue.
  • There is continued interest in owner-procured professional indemnity policies for further protection on project risk.
    • Increasing project values create a corresponding rise in professional liability risk, yet many contractors and design professionals do not carry limits that adequately address these larger exposures.
    • Traditional project-specific professional liability policies covering all design risk on a project can still be obtained, but many buyers prefer the cost efficiency of professional liability products that offer a protective indemnity coverage approach.
    • Shrinking capacity for architects and engineers and continuing pressure for contractual limitations of liability are driving increased demand for owner-procured protective indemnity (OPPI) for projects.
    • Protective coverage procured in rolling programs by project owners continues to attract interest.

Contractors pollution liability

With construction activities looking to make a rebound with the waning of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for contractors pollution liability (CPL) coverage is steadily increasing and may reach historic levels by the end of 2021. Fortunately, the environmental insurance market will be ready to meet this demand.

  • Although the marketplace continues to offer ample carrier choices supporting a broad appetite for risk, rates in 2021 are expected to tick upwards due to the high potential for the discovery or exacerbation of pre-existing pollution conditions.
  • Incumbent markets will attempt to increase rates on their multiyear renewals, but increased appetites from their competition will keep premiums in check for clients with excellent loss histories. Elsewhere, modest increases (relative to other standard lines of coverage) will prevail for most products.
  • As expected, habitational, hotel, hospitality and hospital risks are seeing the highest rates due to an increase in claim activity in these sectors.
  • Site pollution and contractors pollution wrap-up products continue to be coordinated to address both pre-existing and construction-related exposures of project sites on a more comprehensive basis.
  • The following exposures are fueling the need for CPL coverage: pollution exposures during work and after completion, indoor air quality, Legionella, mold and water-related issues, application of chemicals, installation of building products, excessive siltation, emergency remediation expenses, contractor-owned locations, beyond-the-boundaries scenarios, and transportation and disposal of construction debris.
  • COVID-19 and communicable disease exclusions are increasingly commonplace on CPL forms, although coverage for mold and Legionella remains available. Each carrier’s form needs to be evaluated for potential coverage.
  • Requests to extend or modify project-specific policies for resuming construction activities continue to be met with resistance by carriers concerned with potential exposure to COVID-19 claims.
  • As buildings and jobsites begin to reopen during the later stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, expect to see an increase in the number claims involving indoor environmental quality issues — such as mold and Legionella bacteria.
  • Claim activity related to redevelopment of brownfield properties continues — although carriers try to limit exposure by adding exclusions associated with historic fill, dewatering and voluntary site investigations

New York general liability

Labor law exposure continues to drive rate, minimum premiums and high retention levels for both contractors and developers in New York. The umbrella liability market continues to experience the greatest hardening and volatility, impacting all program structures.

  • In Q1 2021 we saw legacy carriers exit this market as well as new carriers enter with fresh capacity.
  • Market activity and submission flow are up heavily as contractors exhaust all potential options.
  • New carriers will aim to capitalize on premium increases ranging upward from 50% premium-to-limit ratios. Depending on trade classification, certain carriers are requiring 100% premium-to-limit on primary general liability.
  • Rate increases can be significant for contractors forced to restructure their primary and excess programs as incumbent appetites change.
  • While new primary capacity enters the New York marketplace, excess carriers are reluctant to attach above newer players with little or no experience in New York, driving excess pricing further upward.
  • Historically, London markets have provided solutions when domestic carriers pull back. Due to poor overall results, however, London has reduced its available capacity and now demands higher rates and attachment points.

New York CIPs

CIPs remain a common strategy for coverage certainty and unified terms and conditions on larger New York projects. The minimum construction value to implement a CIP continues to rise due to high retention levels and minimum premiums on liability.

  • The minimum general liability retention in New York is in the $3 million to $5 million range, depending on project size and scope (Willis Towers Watson Q4 2020 Casualty State of the Market).
  • With the influx of carriers offering general liability-only programs with small uncollateralized retentions, it has become increasingly common to bifurcate workers compensation and general liability programs, thus mitigating overall collateral requirements of more traditional two-line (GL/WC) large deductible programs. However, standard markets continue to be price-competitive on dual line program offerings, so there is a trade-off.
  • Creative solutions feature “pay-as-you-go” options for both collateral and premium payments.
  • Lead umbrella pricing (up to $10 million per occurrence) continues to be a challenge, with carriers seeking up to 100% premium-to-limit, depending on the project exposures.
  • Due to restrictions in excess capacity, we are seeing reduced limits and more quota share arrangements throughout the tower.
  • Project extensions have been challenging, particularly those with London participation as certain Lloyds syndicates have sold their books of business to run-off companies.
  • Capacity has diminished specifically in the excess space since London has essentially exited the New York construction market.
  • On mid-sized projects ($50 million to $300 million), combined owner-general contractor liability programs remain cost competitive for both commercial and residential projects.

Subcontractor default insurance (SDI)

As the global pandemic eases, delayed projects will resume, and new projects will be funded. Those combined with ongoing large capital projects will drive owners, developers and general contractors to seek solutions for both the near- and long-term risk of subcontractor default. SDI carriers continue to add capacity in anticipation of continued growth in demand in 2021 and beyond.

  • The SDI marketplace now has seven carriers with programs, including five that we consider actively engaged in the product line. Four of those five are now capable of offering single limits of $50 million or greater per loss.
  • With the introduction of new capacity and thus choice, buyers should review current policy terms, conditions and pricing.
  • Underwriting in the current environment will continue to present challenges in the near term. SDI carriers are often skeptical of contractors who are altogether new to SDI, and virtual underwriting meetings may not be sufficient to build trust.
  • Historically, the extent of default and failure often directly correlates with the steepness of economic downturns and subsequent recoveries.
  • For the near term, contractors will have to make special efforts to confirm a subcontractor’s financial, operational and safety capabilities. We expect contractors to consider a balance of SDI and subcontractor bonds to get through this period of uncertainty.
  • As we prepare for recovery in 2021, access to qualified subcontract labor continues to be an ongoing concern.
  • Despite current uncertainties, the SDI marketplace is robust. Markets are responding responsibly with some adjustments to their program offerings. In addition to the overall increase in market capacity, the recent entrance of a new carrier offering significant limits, without legacy exposure, provides an additional option for both the near and long term.


Willis Towers Watson hopes you found the general information provided in this publication informative and helpful. The information contained herein is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal advisors. In the event you would like more information regarding your insurance coverage, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. In North America, Willis Towers Watson offers insurance products through licensed subsidiaries of Willis North America Inc., including Willis Towers Watson Northeast Inc. (in the United States) and Willis Canada, Inc.

Each applicable policy of insurance must be reviewed to determine the extent, if any, of coverage for COVID-19. Coverage may vary depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances. For global client programs it is critical to consider all local operations and how policies may or may not include COVID-19 coverage. The information contained herein is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal and/or other professional advisors. Some of the information in this publication may be compiled by third party sources we consider to be reliable, however we do not guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of such information. We assume no duty in contract, tort, or otherwise in connection with this publication and expressly disclaim, to the fullest extent permitted by law, any liability in connection with this publication. Willis Towers Watson offers insurance-related services through its appropriately licensed entities in each jurisdiction in which it operates. COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation and changes are occurring frequently. Willis Towers Watson does not undertake to update the information included herein after the date of publication. Accordingly, readers should be aware that certain content may have changed since the date of this publication. Please reach out to the author or your Willis Towers Watson contact for more information.


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