Managing general underwriter (MGU) Rokstone Construction Risk Underwriters (Rokstone CRU) has announced the launch of a $5 million following form lead excess insurance program for construction risks in the United States.
The program will sit exclusively above Rokstone CRU’s primary general liability product and is focused on controlled insurance programs for both contractors and owners, as well as project specific policies for contractors.
“We’re extremely excited about the launch of this new product,” said Mike Simone (pictured), president of Rokstone CRU. “It will allow Rokstone CRU to provide the first $7 million of coverage on large complex projects to our customers. The product itself provides our customers and our broker partners with the certainty of coverage and continuity in claims handling from the primary through the lead excess. Ultimately, it’s a tremendous benefit to all our customer partners in the complex construction space, especially right now where the market has become so difficult to procure that lead product. That was the true impetus of launching this product right now.”
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Rokstone CRU, which specializes in casualty and builder’s risk insurance, is part of Rokstone, the Aventum Group’s international (re)insurance MGA. It has secured capacity for its new following form lead excess insurance program on a non-admitted basis nationwide with R&Q Accredited America – which is a new partnership that the MGU is “very excited” to enter into, according to Simone.
“As we continue to grow and become the wide-ranging construction centric MGU that we want to be, all of our products have relevance at the particular time in which we launch them,” Simone told Insurance Business. “Our timing is always based on need in the marketplace, and currently we identified the principal demand by our customers was for the lead excess product.
“Our customers and broker partners have been asking Rokstone for some time now to address the growing concern for the lack of a product in regard to the lead excess. They were looking for a solution to what is a difficult space currently to procure consistency. Thankfully, we were able to build a product that will provide our customers with the consistency they expect.”
The lead excess market in construction started contracting about three years ago, according to Simone. Fast-forward to today and many carriers in the space are apprehensive about putting up large amounts of limits – and there are multiple trends driving that market hardening.
“With nuclear verdicts arising as a result of social inflation over the past few years, the excess market space has become more apprehensive, and markets have limited their offerings of large tranches of limits and unsupported excess,” Simone explained. “We identified this as an opportunity for Rokstone to address this issue within the industry by providing a quality alternative solution for our customers and our broker partners. Basically, the industry was contracting, and, for us, we saw that as an opportunity for Rokstone to expand.”
Simone also highlighted the advantages of the new product for Rokstone’s broker partners, in particular, how they’ll receive continuity in coverage – the follow form lead excess will mirror the primary GL form identically – and how they’ll get consistency in claims philosophy.
“Our customers have many different elements to address before they can start a project, from contractual requirements to permitting etc.,” he said. “We are now able to eliminate the need for them to worry about having the proper coverage in place that both satisfies contractual needs, and, most importantly, protects that balance sheets against those hazards that are inherent to a job site. With the continuity of coverage and consistency on the claims through our claims platform, our customers know that they have a partner that is going to stand alongside them when a difficult claim arises.”
Heading up Rokstone CRU’s claims operation is Richard Isgard, who has over 20 years of litigation experience in construction claims on various insurance products, together with 16 years of experience managing claims on the insurance carrier and MGA side. Simone said that Isgard’s experience, coupled with the capabilities of the national TPA the MGU partners with on the primary GL side and its in-house skilled adjusters on the excess side, enable Rokstone CRU to deliver “the exceptional level of experience and expertise that is needed to handle and manage these complex construction claims”.
With an eye to delivering value to customers through product and services, Rokstone CRU is firmly on the technology and digitalization train. Simone commented: “We believe in disruption in the marketplace; disruption is value-add to our clients. One of the things that we do that is unique on a particular construction project, because we work in the GL only space, is we bring a package of technology that allows our customers to view and access any claims data on a live, real-time basis.
“We also allow them to see any notes that are in combination with that particular claim or project. And we’re working with another partner right now to develop proprietary technology that we can deliver real-time to the job site that will allow them to try to mitigate risk or inherent hazards that are obvious at the job site at real-time. So, we’re constantly looking to innovate and provide new particular technology to our customers to enhance the benefit of dealing with Rokstone, but, more importantly, to make the job safer.”