Surplus Lines
Careers & Internships

Success Stories

Many of our members have achieved success within the industry, quickly advancing their careers or becoming top-level executives at multi-million dollar companies. To read more about their stories, click on the members below.

Scott Bayer
Successful Underwriting Executive at a Surplus Lines Insurance Company 

Scott Bayer is the senior vice president for general liability at Liberty International Underwriters in New YorkNew York. By applying hard work and initiative, Scott has become a high-powered executive in the surplus lines industry, reaping both the personal and financial benefits. Today, the business continues to intrigue him with its dynamic nature, new challenges, and emerging risks.      

The Making of a Senior Vice President
Scott obtained his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Pace  University in PleasantvilleNew York. He began his career in the standard insurance market, but quickly transferred to the surplus lines industry—a field he highly recommends to today’s young professionals who are just starting out and trying to find an area of specialization.

In this industry, Scott was able to quickly progress to positions of increasing responsibility—from senior underwriter, to branch manager, from profit center manager, to senior vice president. Each position afforded him a larger team to manage, and additional opportunities to grow and expand the company’s product line, operations, and premium volume. 

Today as senior vice president, Scott manages a group of 20 underwriters and 15 support staff in six offices and has helped to establish new offices in ChicagoSan FranciscoLos Angeles, and San Juan. Under his management, he’s led his department to experience tremendous growth—from $17 million to $165 million in premiums over just four years. 

Scott has also seen the surplus lines industry become a truly global. “When I first started out, it was predominantly domestic. Today within our own company, we have operations in Asia, Europe, Canada, and we’re starting up in Latin America. The industry is one of the few that affords young people the opportunity to travel and see the world,” said Scott. 

The Role of the Underwriter
Scott describes the underwriter’s role as basically being the salesperson within the insurance company. “Although underwriters are not out there selling the account, they perform many tasks to get the account out into the marketplace, and some level of entrepreneurial skill is required to package the product and sell it to agents.”

When Scott’s company is looking to bring a new product to the market, there’s a large amount of research that’s performed. “We analyze exposure, drill down into available data, and get as detailed as possible. Underwriters are compensated for their analytical ability to achieve underwriting profit. If you can help the company make money, you’ll be rewarded accordingly.”

Scott noted that there are also many perks related to marketing the business. “In order to foster key relationships, we often take clients to nice restaurants, Broadway shows, and even sporting events. You’re building those relationships to build your business, but at the same time, you enjoy all sorts of events and activities.”

Scott believes the main objective of the underwriting process is to put the interests of the client first, helping them to properly identify and cover exposures. “At the end of the day, all we have is a piece of paper and a promise to protect the insured, and if we don’t do that properly, then what are we selling?”

A Bright Future in Surplus Lines
Scott particularly enjoys the dynamic, ever-changing nature of the surplus lines market. “I’ve dealt with everything from football helmet manufacturers, to bridge builders, to stadiums. With regards to environmental concerns, we’ve dealt with asbestos abatement, and on the product liability side, product recall insurance. Every time, I open a file, there are new exposures to analyze. Brokers and agents constantly ask me to entertain new risks. You have to wear your thinking cap; you can’t just sit back and do the same thing you’ve always done. It makes for an interesting career, and an industry that offers young people with many rewards and opportunities.”

Randy Doss
Successful Wholesale Broker in Property Coverage

Randy Doss is a wholesale broker specializing in property coverage for CRC Insurance Services in HoustonTexas. Although Randy didn't intend to enter the surplus lines industry, he admits it's the perfect profession for him, requiring a blend of intelligence, effective communication, and strong inter-personal skills. By helping people find coverage for distressed risks, he's found his career both professionally and personally rewarding

Falling into a Surplus Lines Career
Like many in the surplus lines industry, Randy sort of “fell” into this profession. He started off as an engineering major in college, but after taking a few courses, he realized it just wasn’t for him. He was attending the University of Louisiana at Monroe and decided to transfer to the college of business. 

“I signed up for Insurance 101. During the class, it felt like a light bulb just came on. I was intrigued by the different realms of insurance and various types of coverage. A guest lecturer came to discuss the surplus lines industry. He explained that there really was no risk the industry couldn’t write. It might cost a lot, but there was someone out there that would write the risk. I fell in love with the industry and haven’t looked back since,” said Randy.

“Before I took the class, the main image I had of an insurance professional was the door-to-door salesman, and the main types of insurance I was familiar with were home and auto policies. It never occurred to me that insurance was so varied and complex. Most students today are probably in the same situation; they simply aren’t aware of all the opportunities that surplus lines industry has to offer.” 

On Mentorship in the Industry
Randy was fortunate to work under brokers with large books of business and who mentored him early in his career. This helped him to quickly achieve a high level of success. Now at 29, he’s been in the business for a while and has the chance to give back. “I’ve had the opportunity to recruit, work with, and mentor young people straight out of college. Right now I have an assistant, and it’s gratifying to see her face light up when we write a deal or when she understands something new about the business.”

On Being a Broker in the Tough Property Market
“I specialize in property coverage. In this area of surplus lines, a lot of what we do is look into the future and try to predict what’s going to happen in terms of natural disasters. Computer models are used to help determine if a flood, hurricane, or earthquake is likely to occur, and if a catastrophe does happens, what the maximum loss will be to a particular area.”

“Property coverage is considered very complex. Right now, California earthquake coverage is tough. Many think it’s not a matter of if an earthquake will occur but when. After Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma hit, it was difficult to find insurance companies that would write property coverage in  Florida and the entire  Gulf  Coast. As a result, we were forced to creatively package coverage for our clients.”

“There’s a lot of information the underwriter needs in order to write these risks, and as the wholesale broker, I work closely with the retail agent to get this information from the insured. In this role, I’m not just a salesperson. I act as a consultant and advisor to the retail agent and underwriter. It’s a very intellectual sale.”

Knight in Shining Armor: The Rewards of Working in the Industry
“What’s most rewarding is I get to be of service to people. Often times, there’s no other coverage option out there. We’re the last resort. It’s like being a knight in shining armor because we come to the aid of companies with distressed risks. In addition, when a catastrophe hits, you see the devastation, and it’s the surplus lines industry that pays to clean up and rebuild the community. There’s a lot of gratification in knowing this.” 

“There’s nothing about the industry that I don’t find personally rewarding and fulfilling. I work with great people. I’ve been able to see the country and travel abroad. On a personal level I love sports, and the industry has enabled me to attend a lot of sporting events with clients and business associates—including baseball and basketball games, and even the Kentucky Derby.”

“It’s also very feasible to balance your career with a personal life. The business is flexible. If you’re single, you can travel. You can take advantage of today’s technology, such as a laptop and Blackberry, and work from just about anywhere. If you have a family, you can design a schedule that fits their needs. You can bring them to an industry convention for a nice vacation. If there’s a downside to this business, I haven’t found it yet. It’s absolutely wonderful.”