The P&C market is beginning to harden, according to 71 percent of insurers surveyed by FirstBest, which asked, “At what stage do you find the market?” 18 percent felt the market was already hard and only 11 percent felt the market was still soft.

"While we did not include agent and broker responses in the survey findings, given the response rate was statistically smaller, the sentiment this group provided was in-line with their counterparts at commercial-lines carriers—that they were experiencing a hardening market even before Hurricane Sandy," said Joseph Pilkerton, Co-Founder and COO of FirstBest Systems.

Topping to-do lists among insurers trying to position themselves for a hardened market was ensuring a high renewal rate of quality business (64 percent), providing faster service and decision making (40 percent) and obtaining as many qualified submissions as possible (33 percent).

"The carriers we're working and speaking with understand that a hard market offers greater opportunities to select new business amid higher volumes of submissions and to carefully scrutinize their renewals," Pilkerton added.

Nearly unanimously (92 percent), the respondents agreed that underwriting is “very important” for “achieving growth and profitability in a hard market." As a follow-up, insurers were asked what the greatest challenge is for underwriters, to which 33 percent responded analyzing risks faster to get quotes out quickly, 24 percent responded “access to data and analytics to make smarter decisions,” and 18 percent indicated “adjusting risk on the fly.”

FirstBest received 72 survey responses from professionals with IT and business management responsibilities. Eighty-five percent of the group indicated that they work with commercial lines of insurance, with remaining respondents serving personal lines.

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