Smith reveals his ambitious plans to expand Giles-owned managing general agency

Mike Smith

Managing general agency Ink has insurers queueing up to provide capacity for its enhanced product range, says managing director Mike Smith.

Ink broadly expects to have its current capacity providers continue to commit capital, such as Faraday, Zurich, when the panel arrangements are sealed in the near future.

Ink will also have a number of new carriers come onboard to provide capacity for its expanded product range, Smith said.

The Giles-owned MGA is negotiating for new capacity providers because its three-year contract deals need renewing.

Smith said: “We’ve had no deals move, all three-year deals want to continue. We’ve got a number of new carriers coming onboard and we are in the process of buildings systems and online capabilities that will allow us to develop their products.”

Aviva, then Norwich Union, ran off capacity with Ink during 2009. Former chief executive Igal Mayer told Insurance Times at the time:  “Our vision is simple: you should be able to get the best deal by coming directly to us.”


Asked if Ink had requested that insurers pay high commission or profit sharing deals in comparison to rivals for the new deal, Smith strongly rebutted the suggestion.

Smith said: “We’ve got carriers that have been with us for last three, five or ten years without a change on commercial so it shows something about the quality of the business.

“When you look at Faraday, they have been writing high-hazard liability for over ten years, now you don’t have that length of relationship if they’re paying too much acquisition costs, because they don’t make the returns.

“So it says a lot about what Ink brings to the party, and that is around quality distribution and quality underwriting and the intellectual property to write in difficult markets.

“You look at people like our motor trade team and they’ve got some excellent results, and in fact, in a number of cases they outperformed the underling insurers, who were their capacity.

“I think that is because you’ve got underwriters there and, day in day out, all they do is motor trade business.

“They know it back to front, they’ve seen half the risks in the UK because you get 500 enquiries a month and they know how to underwrite the business, which adds value. We seem to have insurers queueing up to come onboard.”

Westinsure ambitions

Meanwhile, Westinsure Group managing director Norrie Erwin revealed some of his ambitions for the Ink-owned network.

He said he wanted to see the network grow from around 180 members to 200 members over the next 12 months, before reaching the size of 225 members.

However, he said Westinsure was not interested in signing up members for the sake of it.

“The accent is absolutely on quality, and if that means we have to walk away from opportunities then we’ll do so,” he said.

The network signed up 22 members over the last year, Erwin said.

Westinsure members placed around £320m of gross written premium, 75% of which was commercial lines. This was up from around £280m since Ink bought it, he added.

Ink Underwriting managing director Mike Smith said the MGA paid slightly less than £6m for Westinsure last August.