Why the Role of the Wholesaler Is More Important Than Ever

As the market continues to harden, business is flowing into the Excess & Surplus space at an unprecedented pace, making the role of a wholesaler more important than ever. According to the AM Best Market Segment Report, surplus lines direct premium written in 2019 grew by 11.2% with surplus lines premium setting a new record at $55.5 billion.

Once considered a market of last resort, the surplus lines sector has delivered solutions to retail agents challenged by the increased account selectivity of underwriters, an overall lack of capacity, and restricted terms and conditions. E&S carriers are providing innovative solutions to today’s complex problems and wholesale brokers are filling coverage gaps, securing comprehensive coverage, and providing expertise for specialized and emerging risks.

Meaningful Relationships

As expected, relationships are playing a key role, not only between carriers and wholesalers, but with retail agencies looking to consolidate their number of wholesaler intermediaries with long-term, strategic trading partners. “The relationships between carriers and wholesalers can make or break a wholesaler’s position with retail agencies,” states Marya Propis, SVP, Distribution and Broker Partnerships, at RT Specialty. “To deliver seamlessly to our retail trading partners, we expect our carriers to possess a clear appetite, well-defined distribution strategies, and the mindset of what customer excellence truly means. They need a deep bench and the right talent to handle the growing flow of submissions, with efficient quoting, binding and processing efforts.”

Proven Track Record

In turn, as wholesalers seek to find the best fit with their carriers, it is equally important for retailers to find a strong, responsive wholesaler team with specialized product and industry expertise and a proven track record of delivering solutions. An experienced team can help retail agents and their insureds carefully manage risk, ultimately creating more opportunity for all.

Considerations when choosing a wholesaler:

  • History of the agency and ownership structure
  • Annual average growth rate at five, ten and fifteen years, including and excluding acquisitions
  • Premium volume detail for the past five years in total
  • Premium volume segmented by binding authority business, brokerage business, and program business
  • Detailed listing of key carrier trading partnerships segmented by binding authority business, brokerage business, and program business
  • Expanded listing of agency specialties (e.g. construction, CAT property, professional and management liability, etc.)
  • A listing of all office locations
  • Detailed outline of proprietary products and exclusive relationships in the region in which the retail agent or broker operates

Does your wholesaler perform?

The ideal candidate will demonstrate a successful and sustainable growth rate, a stable ownership structure, reasonable client retention ratios, nationwide scope, breadth of carrier relationships, superior service culture, the ability to meet the wide variety of specialty lines opportunities presented, and specific areas of expertise in addition to general services.

Ryan Specialty Group, LLC (RSG) and All Risks, effective September 1, 2020, finalized the acquisition of All Risks by RSG. RSG is a specialty insurance organization providing services through its family of companies in the areas of wholesale brokerage and delegated underwriting authority in the form of binding authorities, programs and managing general underwriting companies. The combined RSG-All Risks operations, with roughly 3,300 employees and 70+ offices across the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe, is projected to handle nearly $15 Billion in premium during 2020. Learn more at ryansg.com and rtspecialty.com.


All Risks Specialty, LLC (f/k/a All Risks, Ltd.) (hereafter “All Risks”), a subsidiary of Ryan Specialty Group, LLC (RSG), provides wholesale insurance brokerage and other services to agents and brokers. All Risks is a Maryland limited liability company based in Maryland. As a wholesale broker, All Risks does not solicit insurance from the public. Some products may only be available in certain states, and some products may only be available from surplus lines insurers. In California: All Risks of California Insurance Services, Ltd. License # 0B84526.

R-T Specialty, LLC (RT), a subsidiary of Ryan Specialty Group, LLC (RSG), provides wholesale insurance brokerage and other services to agents and brokers. RT is a Delaware limited liability company based in Illinois. As a wholesale broker, RT does not solicit insurance from the public. Some products may only be available in certain states, and some products may only be available from surplus lines insurers. In California: R-T Specialty Insurance Services, LLC License # 0G97516.

RSG Underwriting Managers, LLC, a Delaware Series limited liability company and subsidiary of Ryan Specialty Group, LLC (RSG), provides underwriting management and other services for insurance products distributed through agents and brokers.  RSG Underwriting Managers, LLC does not solicit insurance from the public. Some products may only be available in certain states, and some products may only be available from surplus lines insurers.  In California: RSG Insurance Services, LLC License # 0E50879. ©2020 Ryan Specialty Group, LLC

Legal Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Discussion of insurance policy language is descriptive only. Every policy has different policy language. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. Please refer to your policy for the actual language.