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The Top Skills Needed in a Surplus Lines Employee

Skills Needed in a Surplus Lines Employee

At InsCipher, we help agencies file hundreds of thousands of policies each year. We have learned a thing or two about building efficient surplus lines filing teams. We’ve determined many skills that can be good indicators that a Surplus Lines employee will enjoy this unique field.

Attention to Detail

Working as a Surplus Lines filer or accountant involves dealing with submitting reports where errors in amounts or late submissions can be costly in fines and penalties. With this kind of high-stakes accuracy on the line, attention to detail is critical.

Tech Savvy

Technology is at the center of what we do. Almost everything is done electronically. A successful tax filer must be comfortable utilizing technology.

Eagerness to Learn/Interest in Insurance

Surplus Lines is unique – not many people outside of the industry, and even not many within, are familiar with what Surplus Lines is and how it works. A successful Surplus Lines employee must be willing to learn about tax laws, reporting, filing, and payment.

Highly Organized

There is so much to keep track of! Due dates, tax rates, documents, forms, policies, state stamp wording, diligent efforts, etc. With so many items to stay on top of, a successful Surplus Lines tax filer or accountant is highly organized by nature.

Conscientious and Self-motivated

An excellent predictor of a successful Surplus Lines employee is one who is driven by the satisfaction of a job well done and is intrinsically motivated. By nature, this is not a person who drops the ball. They want to do well because it is the right thing to do, and they derive satisfaction from crossing the finish line without needing the spotlight or external kudos. Using checklists is a part of their nature. The satisfaction that comes from completing a list of important tasks is what drives them. They thrive working on their own and have no trouble focusing on, and digging into, the job at hand.

Prodding from others to get things done is not needed.

Adaptable to Change/Calm Under Pressure

It is the nature of the beast when dealing with taxes – there are predictable times throughout the year when there are monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual deadlines. The volume and workload during these times is increased and can create stress and pressure. Remaining calm during those times and having the ability to maintain balance keeps those moments in perspective. When a project is near completion, and a change is thrown their way, requiring amending or re-creating, how do they handle it? Someone who needs consistency and predictability may get thrown.

The Surplus Lines industry is constantly changing. Adaptability is key. If an employee sees a way to improve a process to increase efficiency, thinking outside the box is extremely helpful.

Team Player

Working with state regulators, accountants, filers, brokers, and managers is a regular part of a Surplus Lines employee’s day. It takes a team to stay on top of industry changes and get filings, reports, and payments submitted on time. Having a team that works well together to answer questions, help each other, collaborate, and encourage each other can make all the difference in enjoying the job and motivating you to get the work done. It is a must to have go-to coworkers and others in the industry who understand Surplus Lines and all of the nuances of this unique line of work.


Often, it is all too easy and comfortable to “do what you’ve always done” to accomplish a task. Someone new will come along and ask, “Why is it done this way?” A fresh set of eyes and a new perspective can challenge the status quo and help develop solutions and efficiencies. Being open-minded, creative, and inquisitive are needed and appreciated traits in a Surplus Lines employee. There is a lot to know when working in the Surplus Lines, with constant changes and updates. Asking questions to coworkers in other departments or state regulators helps an employee become more educated and well-rounded.

Any other skills you think a surplus lines employee needs to thrive?

InsCipher is an insurtech company providing software and services that are revolutionizing inefficient insurance processes. Save your agency time and money by automating surplus lines compliance, filing, and reporting. Want to learn more? Request a free demo today!

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