Surplus Directory Prints Success for Agents, Wholesalers
July 8, 2002
Having serviced the Excess and Surplus Lines' community for a quarter century, Insurance Journal's Excess & Surplus Directory continues its role in providing the latest markets for agents and wholesalers.
"For a number of years we've had the print directory and a few years ago (1998) we launched the online version of the E&S Directory," Mitch Dunford, IJ's vice president of sales and marketing, said. "I think now at more than any time in recent history, the hard market is forcing agents to find new markets for their clients. This directory, especially online, is very helpful."
According to Dunford, the greatest challenge to publishing the directory is getting the markets to list and keeping the data as accurate as possible. "Online, it is easy for the markets to come in and update it," Dunford said. "In May, over 61,000 agents and brokers accessed our Web site for news and information. It has definitely become an online resource for news and information to the independent agent."
Putting the E&S print directory together is rather easy, transferring data from one source to another.
"Basically, we take the data from our Web site and print it," Dunford remarked. "It is current data as of the date it is printed. It is a very popular print issue. What we have found is that our readers keep it for the next six months as a resource when they're trying to find markets. It is pretty straightforward. We list the markets and where to contact them. I think that we're constantly striving to keep the data pure. When a wholesaler says 'yes, we have this market,' they really do."
As Dunford notes, "we're constantly trying to improve the online directory. There are a few things in the works that will make it easier for the agent to access it off their computer. IJ has also been asked by a handful of companies to link its directories to their companies.
"It is valuable for the wholesalers-it saves them time and money," Dunford adds. "It is important the wholesalers provide accurate information. We offer a number of upgrades to their free listings to make them more predominantly viewed."
And will there always be an E&S print directory with the evolution of the Web?
"As long as the demand is there, and there is still a high demand," Dunford notes. "While the Web is great, people still want to hold the magazine in their hands."