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What is Buffer Liability Insurance?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Buffer Liability Insurance is a useful risk transfer tool as the P&C insurance cycle transitions from a soft to hard market. A “soft” market is ideal for consumers, as it is the best time to find insurance coverage and the lowest premiums.

On the other hand, a “hard market” occurs as insurance companies, who have had to pay out a lot in claims for catastrophic events, subsequently increase premiums and decrease the amount of coverage they’re willing to underwrite. For the last two decades, the insurance industry has largely experienced a soft market period, and Buffer Liability Insurance was usually not needed. However, with today’s changing market, this insurance is becoming more popular.

Buffer Liability Insurance Basics

Buffer Liability Insurance is any layer of insurance (or risk retention) that resides between the primary layer and the excess layers. For example, if the primary layer coverage is $100,000 and the excess layer attachment point is $500,000, a buffer layer of $400,000 is required.

In the past, if you had both Primary Layer Insurance and Excess Insurance, there was essentially no gap between those coverages; if your primary layer capped at $1 million, the excess layer insurance would kick in at that point. However, now insurance carriers are less willing to write high primary insurance limits. That, coupled with a hardening market, will make excess insurance more expensive to purchase; this means the excess layer will kick in at a significantly higher point than the primary cap. This creates a gap between the primary layer and the excess layer, indicating the need for Buffer Liability Insurance. The wider the gap, the more Buffer Liability coverage that’s needed.

Who Should Consider Buffer Liability Insurance?

Buffer Liability Insurance is important for large risks that can be difficult to insure, such as the following:

  • Truckers, emergency vehicles and auto fleets with more than 500 vehicles

  • Employers who self-insure their workers’ compensation

  • Companies with a poor loss history that want liability coverage over the usual primary layer

  • Condo owners and apartment building owners who have Habitational Insurance

As the insurance market begins to harden, protect your business from all of the risks that can occur. To learn more about adding Buffer Liability Insurance to your current insurance coverage, contact us today.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.