American Empire Surplus Lines Insurance Company – A Leading Surplus Lines Insurer

American Empire Surplus Lines Insurance Company provides specialized property and casualty insurance coverage for unique and hard-to-insure risks. As a surplus lines insurer, they offer solutions beyond what’s available from standard insurance companies.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about American Empire Surplus Lines Insurance Company, including:

  • What is surplus lines insurance?
  • American Empire’s history and financial strength
  • Types of risks they insure
  • Their underwriting approach
  • How to obtain a policy
  • Key facts and reviews

Let’s get started understanding this prominent surplus lines insurance company.

What is Surplus Lines Insurance?

First, what exactly are surplus lines insurers and how do they differ from standard insurance companies?

Surplus lines insurance provides coverage for hard-to-insure risks that don’t fit typical insurance company underwriting appetites. These can include:

  • Properties in high-risk locations
  • Unique assets and collections
  • Historic buildings
  • Exotic animals
  • Hazardous operations

Surplus lines fill the gap when standard insurers won’t offer coverage. Policies are more customized to the individual risk.

However, surplus lines insurance is not subject to state insurance regulations and rate filings. Carriers have more flexibility in evaluating risks and pricing coverage.

Surplus lines insurance can only be obtained through specially licensed surplus lines brokers. It is typically more expensive than standard coverage.

Now that we’ve explained surplus lines insurance, let’s look at American Empire specifically.

American Empire Surplus Lines Insurance Company Overview

American Empire Surplus Lines Insurance Company provides surplus lines solutions for:

  • Hard-to-place property risks
  • Inland marine and ocean cargo risks
  • Target classes like museums, historic sites, and more

They focus on flexibility and customization for risks not well-served by standard carriers.

Some key facts about American Empire:

  • Founded: 1958
  • Headquarters: Cincinnati, OH
  • A.M. Best rating: A+ (Superior)
  • Admitted assets: $101 million (as of 12/2020)
  • Specialties: Property, inland marine, ocean cargo

Next, we’ll look at American Empire’s history and financial strength.

American Empire’s History and Financial Ratings

American Empire Surplus Lines Insurance Company has over 60 years of experience serving surplus lines customers:

  • 1958 – Incorporated as the American Empire Insurance Company in Cincinnati, OH
  • 1960s-70s – Expanded across the U.S. and into surplus lines market
  • 1980s – Joined the Great American Insurance Group
  • 2014 – Changed name to American Empire Surplus Lines Insurance Company
  • Today – Writes over $60 million in surplus lines premium

The company is part of the Great American Insurance Group, adding financial stability. Great American has over $14 billion in assets and an A+ rating from A.M. Best.

Types of Risks Insured by American Empire

American Empire writes surplus lines insurance for difficult-to-place property and inland marine accounts:


  • Historic buildings
  • Museums and galleries
  • Vacant or foreclosed properties
  • Builders risk
  • Real estate developers

Inland Marine

  • Fine art and collections
  • Motor truck cargo
  • Contractor equipment
  • Transportation losses
  • Installation risks

Ocean Cargo

  • Import/export merchants
  • Freight forwarders
  • Customs house brokers

They focus on flexibility for hard-to-place risks that don’t fit standard underwriting criteria.

American Empire’s Underwriting and Claims Approach

American Empire takes a customized approach to underwriting surplus lines accounts:

  • Specialized underwriting expertise for target niches
  • Focus on loss control and risk management
  • Site inspections for unique characteristics
  • Hazard mitigation and prevention requirements

The goal is to thoroughly evaluate the risk and price appropriately.

For claims, American Empire handles losses in-house for efficient response. Their approach aims to:

  • Investigate claims quickly and thoroughly
  • Determine coverage and respond promptly
  • Resolve disputes or litigation effectively
  • Prevent further damage where possible

Overall, they seek to develop long-term partnerships built on experience and service.

How to Obtain Insurance from American Empire

American Empire distributes its surplus lines insurance exclusively through wholesale brokers. Here are the steps to obtain a policy:

  1. Work with a surplus lines broker – They will submit your risk to American Empire and other surplus insurers for quotes. Make sure they are licensed in your state.

  2. Complete American Empire’s application – Provide details on your risk’s unique characteristics. The application helps American Empire properly underwrite the exposure.

  3. Allow time for review – American Empire will thoroughly assess the risk profile before deciding on coverage terms and pricing. This often includes an on-site inspection.

  4. Obtain quotes – Your broker will present quotes from American Empire and other surplus lines carriers for consideration.

  5. Bind coverage – Once you accept American Empire’s quote, your broker will work to bind coverage.

The broker is your advocate through this specialized surplus lines process. Their expertise is invaluable in finding appropriate coverage.

Key Facts and Reviews on American Empire Surplus Lines Insurance

Here are some key facts and testimonials on working with American Empire Surplus Lines:

  • Provides coverage for hard-to-place property & inland marine risks when standard insurers decline
  • Flexible underwriting approach with customized policies
  • Specializes in museums, historic sites, buildings, transportation, and more
  • Positive reviews for taking tough risks and creative underwriting
  • Complaints focus on higher pricing given greater risks assumed

“American Empire really came through for us on a tough mercantile occupancy that no one else would touch.” – Wholesale Broker, New York

“They were able to tailor limits and terms to meet our unique restoration project’s needs.” – Contractor, North Carolina

Overall, American Empire Surplus Lines Insurance Company delivers customized solutions for risks not well-served by the standard market. Their experienced underwriting and focus on loss control make them a leading surplus lines insurer. With the help of a knowledgeable wholesale broker, American Empire can provide coverage when you have no place else to turn.

Medical Records Associates, Inc. v. American Empire Surplus Lines Insurance (1998) Overview | LSData


What is surplus lines insurance coverage?

Surplus lines insurance is specialized coverage written by unlicensed, nonadmitted insurance companies to cover specific extraordinary items and uncommon or high risks that are generally not covered by traditional insurance companies under standard policies.

What type of insurance can be obtained through a surplus lines insurer?

Surplus lines insurance falls into the category of property and casualty insurance. In many cases, it is used to cover relatively new risks that conventional insurers shy away from because they lack historical data to properly price their policies.

Which insurance association represents the surplus lines industry?

The SLA monitors surplus line brokers who do business in California and helps them comply with all state surplus line laws and regulations when they write business.

What is surplus for an insurance company?

Policyholder surplus is essentially the amount of money remaining after an insurer’s liabilities are subtracted from its assets. Policyholder surplus is a financial cushion that protects a company’s policyholders in the event of unexpected or catastrophic losses.

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