Most insurance in Idaho is written by insurance companies licensed by the Idaho Department of Insurance and protected by the Idaho Guaranty Fund. These companies are regulated by the State in a variety of ways, including restrictions on the amount of premium charged and policy forms used. However, licensed companies will not provide all the insurance coverage needed by Idaho citizens. With the exception of "Eligible Lines for Export", a needed coverage must first be rejected by licensed companies before it can be written in the surplus lines market, and then only by eligible companies on the Idaho "White List". Surplus Line policies must be placed through licensed resident and/or non-resident Surplus Line Brokers .

The Idaho Department of Insurance does not directly regulate the rates and policy forms used by Surplus Line insurers. This provides the flexibility needed to write the hard-to-place risks found in the Surplus Lines market. The typical types of risks written in Surplus Lines include those that:

  • Are high risk (explosive manufacturing)
  • Do not fit standard market underwriting
  • Require higher limits than offered by standard markets
  • Have excessive loss history
  • Specialty coverage (one day events and unique situations)