New hires announced yesterday will also help to drive underwriting profit for insurers

Brightside is planning to set up MGAs that will underwrite motor, household and tradesman liability products, by the early summer.

Chief executive Paul Williams said the broker is often approached by clients who have niche needs in the motor, household and tradesman areas. With the MGAs, Brightside plans to meet those needs with its own underwritten products, he told Insurance Times.

Creating new products would also enable Brightside to cross-sell liability and household products to its existing clients, as it already has a heavy presence in the motor and tradesman space.

Williams added: “For our van customers, we have Commercial Vehicle Direct, which is one of our brands and we understand that market really well and the buying behaviour. If we had an offering that would enable us to provide those van customers with a tradesman liability solution, it makes perfect sense.

“We also have a huge motor book and I am very keen for us to cross-sell our motor books into our household book. If you drive a car you are more likely to own a house. Being seen as just a motor broker is not where this business needs to be. It needs to be seen as a broker that can provide all the solutions you need.”

The broker plans to set up MGAs in other niche areas and will continue to use open market insurers, while placing niche products through its MGAs, he said.

Underwriting specialty

Brightside announced several appointments yesterday, to strengthen its underwriting and pricing division, as well as compliance.

One of the new appointments, Paul Rountree, who joined the broking group on 24 March as capacity and pricing manager, will also help develop the first of the MGAs.

Williams said the new hires will also enable the broker to work with its insurer partners to identify the niches and areas that make underwriting profit for them.

He added: “If you are a broker that is able to understand the sort of risks that make money and the sorts that don’t, then you can actually price accordingly.

“You often find in that area of the market there is less price competition. The insurer brings the capital, we provide the distribution, data and the knowledge to make an underwriting profit.”

Capital raising

In January, Brightside raised £6.8m to plug a short-term cash shortfall. Williams said the business does not need any new capital for its day-to-day running, but he said he would not rule out asking shareholders for more capital as growth plans and opportunities arise.