“Collectively we are moving past the height of the hard market” – Westfield Specialty president

Jack Kuhn is optimistic about the future of the E&S industry and Westfield Specialty’s growth

"Collectively we are moving past the height of the hard market" – Westfield Specialty president

During a sit-down interview at Specialty Westfield in Atlanta in 2023, Jack Kuhn, the president of RIMS, stated (pictured) that we are currently experiencing the peak of a challenging market.

During a conversation with Insurance Business, Kuhn discussed the challenges of starting the firm without a comprehensive plan and how the current property and casualty market might vary for insurers and policyholders. He also mentioned the implications of Westfield’s recent acquisition from Lloyd’s, shedding light on the company’s situation and the absence of a detailed blueprint.

At that time, the damage caused by Hurricane Andrew in Florida was the most expensive of any hurricane to strike the United States, a similarity that Kuhn considered to be reminiscent of the present condition of the market.

Kuhn expressed that the market for Westfield Specialty, similar to E&S specialty insurers, can be described as “glass that’s more than half full.”

“With a variety of their diverse programs, customers may encounter numerous challenges to overcome, which presents us with a distinctive opportunity. It is an incredibly resilient and thriving market for us.”

However, when it comes to purchasing or renewing their lines of coverage, the insured may have a distinctly different perspective on the current state of the market.

“For buyers of property insurance, it is less than half empty. It’s truly a challenging market for them right now,” Kuhn said.

Insurers will need to ensure that the rates, regardless of how inflated they may currently be, are assessed fairly and accurately in order to address some of the present challenges.

Kuhn stated, “We must consider three factors. We must be aware of the qualities that insureds had previously been acquiring, what they are currently able to purchase, and what the future will entail as we begin progressing forward.”

While others are certainly looking to cut back on managing their aggregations and reducing their sizes, I think relief is a tricky position during these times, in which we find ourselves somewhat in a different position.

“I didn’t have a detailed blueprint for starting Westfield Specialty”

Kuhn, who leads Westfield’s specialty division within the industry, has successfully utilized the company’s extensive background and 175 years of experience in the American market as a prominent property and casualty insurance provider.

Instead, he insisted on following a more organic path to achieve growth and a profitable future. Kuhn admitted that there was no clear plan delineated when this offshoot specialty was being conceptualized.

“I didn’t possess a comprehensive plan for commencing Westfield Specialty,” Kuhn expressed.

Instead, we are more focused on ensuring that our business develops in a way that guarantees profitability, rather than solely prioritizing top-line growth, which is a good structure for us as a business.

This path to profitability is linked to a team of professionals who possess a studious spirit and a creative problem-solving approach.

Due to the pandemic restrictions, the ubiquity of a completely remote or hybrid work environment has thwarted certain benefits of a culture office.

Kuhn expressed, “particularly for recent recruits in a distant environment, which is considerably more challenging, there exists a culture that facilitated the monitoring of individuals’ work approaches in an office environment.” Kuhn added, “COVID-19 has posed a challenge to the conventional concept of sharing historical knowledge.”

Kuhn team is emphasizing the importance of creating opportunities for employees to gain invaluable experiences and informative interactions amongst these various sorts, in order to help build their burgeoning company.

“This purchase provided us with a substantial foundation that included 180 staff members,” Kuhn stated.

“Due to worldwide licensing and expansion into international markets, it also provided us with entry to a marketplace that many companies find challenging.”

The corporation will permit profitable and intentional methods to expand the Westfield Specialty portfolio, which is claimed to have boosted the worldwide reputation to more than $1 billion in premiums.

“As per Kuhn, we will be able to enhance and broaden our existing assortment of products that we own at the Syndicate.”

We want to ensure that our emphasis on profitable endeavors and strategic thinking always guides our decisions and actions, both to create opportunities and make decisions for the future.

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