Skip To The Main Content


Surplus line insurance is a specialized coverage (typically a distressed, complex, unique, or high-capacity commercial coverage) that can be obtained from certain insurers, not licensed in California, but eligible as surplus lines carriers. The risk must be rejected by admitted carriers pursuant to California Insurance Code Section 1763 (unless otherwise exempted pursuant to California Insurance Code Section 1763.1). 

As defined in California Insurance Code Section 1760.1 (m), surplus line insurance means any property and casualty insurance permitted to be placed directly, or through a surplus line broker, with a surplus line insurer eligible to accept such insurance.  
As defined in California Insurance Code Section 1760.1 (n), a surplus line insurer is an insurer not licensed or admitted in California.  Such a carrier is licensed in another state or jurisdiction, just not in the insured’s home state.

Generally, surplus line insurers can be classified into two types:

1. U.S. insurer (or Foreign insurer) – an insurer domiciled in one of the United States, or its territories.

2. Non-U.S. insurer (or Alien insurer) – an insurer domiciled in and licensed under the laws of a country other than the United States. 

Surplus line brokers can place business in California with surplus line insurers provided that, at the time of placement, the broker has determined that the insurers have met either the requirements established under Section 1765.1 or Section 1765.2 of the California Insurance Code (CIC).

I. Under CIC Section 1765.1, a broker may place surplus line insurance for California home state insureds with:

  • a U.S. (foreign) insurer, provided the insurer (1) is licensed to write the type of insurance in its domiciliary jurisdiction; and (2) has at least $45 million in capital and surplus (unless exempted).
  • a Non-U.S. (alien) insurer, provided the insurer is listed on the NAIC Quarterly Listing Alien Insurers maintained by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, International Insurers Department.

II. Under CIC Section 1765.2, surplus line insurers may seek to be placed on the California List of Approved Surplus Line Insurers (LASLI) maintained by the California Department of Insurance.

LASLI stands for “List of Approved Surplus Line Insurers”. It is an optional listing of both U.S. and Non-U.S. surplus line insurers that the California Department of Insurance has approved for surplus line placements. These insurers have satisfied the standards as set forth in California Insurance Code Section 1765.2 for inclusion on the LASLI. However, a surplus line insurer does not need to be on the LASLI to be eligible for surplus line placements in California if the surplus line broker determines that the insurer meets the requirements under California Insurance Code Section 1765.1.

Only those Lloyd’s of London syndicates which appear on the most recent NAIC Quarterly Listing Alien Insurers (maintained by the International Insurers Department of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners) are eligible to transact surplus line insurance in California.


No, California does not publish a list of eligible surplus line insurers.


An ineligible insurer is a surplus line insurer that does not qualify as an eligible surplus line insurer under the requirements of California Insurance Code Section 1765.1.

In addition, if the Commissioner determines that an insurer is not eligible, the Commissioner may issue an order and ask The Surplus Line Association of California to notify all surplus line brokers that the insurer is no longer eligible.

NOTE: A surplus line insurer that is not eligible can still be used for placements of California surplus line risks on a limited basis provided all the criteria under California Insurance Code Section 1765.1(f)(1) have been met.


Surplus line insurance is exempted from the cancellation/nonrenewal provisions for commercial insurance, under CIC 675.5. For this purpose, “commercial insurance” means commercial multiperil, commercial property, commercial liability, commercial special multiperil, commercial comprehensive multiperil, errors and omissions liability, and professional liability insurance, and other insurance covering commercial property or liability arising from a commercial enterprise. While the statutory notice provisions do not apply to surplus line insurance, any cancellation or nonrenewal would need to be done in accordance with the provisions of the applicable policy.

However, as interpreted by CDI, the cancellation/nonrenewal statutes do apply to surplus line insurance in many personal lines, such as private passenger auto, homeowners, renters, and personal liability insurance. See, CDI Opinion dated September 17, 2019.