Hewett Featured in NASBP’s Surety Bond Quarterly
December 20, 2021
Chief Underwriting Officer David Hewett was featured in the National Association of Surety Bond Producer's (NASBP) winter issue of Surety Bond Quarterly, answering questions about the surety market, challenges in the industry and more.
Talent is at a premium right now. What are you doing to attract and retain your talent?
We continue to find that good underwriters want to work for companies that appreciate their contribution. We work hard to develop an environment and culture that recognize these contributions as well as recognizing our greater responsibilities to our community. We believe this creates a sense of purpose for our colleagues. We remain focused on creating a more diverse employee group. Better answers and results occur when broader perspectives are at the table.
What advice and perspective are you giving right now to your employees? Your agents? Your clients?
We are talking about mental health more that I can ever remember. With our associates, we are checking in regularly to make sure they and their families are ok. The constantly changing work environment due to COVID-19 continues to have a bearing on mental health.
For our agents, we continue to emphasize our common sense underwriting, stability and, commitment to their business. We will be a steady hand here for the long term. And our discussion with our agents’ clients is much the same.
Do you believe that the commercial surety market/contract surety market will tighten in 2022?
We do not see signs of a tightening market or any indication they are on the horizon in 2022. The economy continues to move along well with pockets of pressure but no apparent underlying issues. There are segments of the commercial business seeing greater pressure, such as energy and to a lesser extent, lingering issues in the hospitality industries. From a construction standpoint, backlogs remain relatively strong; and we do not see undue stress. We are concerned that inflation could impact some of the trades with higher exposure to commodity prices, but we are not seeing an effect today.
With all challenges come opportunities. What opportunities do you see for your industry? For your company? For bond producers? For businesses needing surety credit?
We see technology advancement having an increasing role in the industry. We have made great progress in improving antiquated business practices around bond issuance, but more needs to be done. More companies, ours included, are investing in technology to streamline the process for our agents and their clients. We see this as a great opportunity for bond producers.
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