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Survey Report

Insurance Marketplace Realities 2024 Spring Update – Architects and engineers

May 8, 2024

Adverse severity claim trends reported by most professional liability (PL) carriers continue. Social inflation is being cited as a primary driver.
Rate predictions: Architects and engineers
Trend Range
Professional liability Increase, (purple arrows pointing up) +5% to +10%
Project specific professional liability Will vary based on project type
General liability/package Neutral increase, (Flat line, two arrows pointing up) +5% to +10%
Auto Increase, (purple arrows pointing up) +5% to +10%
WC Neutral increase, (one arrow left, one arrow right) Flat to +5%
Umbrella Increase, (purple arrows pointing up) +5% to +10%
Management liability Neutral increase, (Flat line, two arrows pointing up) Flat to +5%
Cyber Increase, (Flat line, two arrows pointing up) Flat to +5%

Volatility of the past 24 months in the A&E professional liability marketplace is expected to remain the same in 2024; most notably in the form of rate increases, capacity constraints and a reduction in PL carriers’ appetite for specific risks.

  • While some A&E PL insurers are indicating premium increases across their entire book of business to offset claim severity trends, certain insurers are taking a strategic underwriting approach that will target high-risk projects or specific market segments. Third-party bodily injury claims on large infrastructure projects remain a difficult risk to manage, and some carriers have reduced their appetites for risks that take on these exposures.
  • While restriction in capacity was limited to select insurers in 2023, additional carriers are starting to follow suit to limit their exposures to increased claim severity trends. Most carriers are offering A&E PL limits up to $5 million; however, the number of carriers providing coverage up to $10 million is limited. Decreased capacity has created a need for additional limits through excess carriers at an additional cost.
  • Firms can expect an increase in cost to insure single projects by securing specific job excess (SJX) coverage and/or project specific professional liability (PSPL). Consult with your insurance broker to determine all options and potential costs well in advance of start of construction.
  • Some A&E PL insurers are concerned about the constriction in the project-specific professional liability (PSPL) market on large projects as a result of increased claim activity surrounding design-build exposures — specifically public infrastructure projects with fixed price contracts and third-party BI exposures. In the event PSPL coverage is not available or cost prohibitive, these project exposures would bring heightened exposures to the A&E PL insurers’ underlying PL policies.
  • Design firms can expect a greater level of underwriter scrutiny to continue. Firms can expect underwriters to look closely at their commitment to specific risk management practices, including negotiation of fair and insurable contracts and education of their staff on managing A&E PL-related risks.

Claim severity trends continue and are the primary driver for rate increases in 2024. Insurers note social inflation; including rising claim costs, a backlog of litigation, length of time to settle, supply chain disruptions and the rise in bodily injury claims as primary factors.

  • Claim severity continues in 2024. Social inflation is still recognized as a leading contributor to the increase in claim severity fueled by aggressive plaintiffs’ bar and concerning trend of litigation financing.
  • The cost and time to settle a PL claim are increasing, with most noting it takes on average two to three years or more to settle a matter.
  • Third-party bodily injury claims and design-build/alternative project delivery are the two leading factors behind a continuing trend of severity claims on roads and highway/infrastructure projects.

The A&E cyber insurance market sees signs of relief.

  • While the cyber market is still in its infancy, the large rate increases that were driven by high claim frequency and severity have started to stabilize.
  • The continued claim activity has kept underwriting scrutiny high; however, firms with proper protocols in place have seen favorable renewals.
  • Start the renewal process early and review underwriting trends with your broker to ensure you have the proper protocols in place.


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 entities, including Willis Towers Watson Northeast, Inc. (in the United States) and Willis Canada Inc. (in Canada).


Dan Buelow
Managing Director, Architects & Engineers practice

Dan is the Managing Director of WTW A&E, the specialty division for WTW that is exclusively dedicated to providing insurance and risk management solutions to architects and engineers. Dan and his staff of A&E insurance specialists represent over 500 architectural and engineering firms located across the country and practicing throughout the world. Dan and his team provide tailored risk management services, including contract negotiation, claims advocacy and a wide variety of risk management education workshops. Dan is on the ACEC National Risk Management Committee (RMC) and chairs the Cyber Sub-Committee. Dan is active in ACEC, AIA and other associations that support the design community. Dan speaks frequently and has written and presented on a wide range or risk management topics for architects and engineers.

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