NBS Underwriting’s managing director Steve Cowman tells Insurance Times why feedback is crucial for business development, especially when it comes to creating new schemes or products

The Five Star Rating Report: MGA 2021/22 - compiled by Insurance Times - is out now. What is your reaction to the star rating awarded to NBS Underwriting by brokers?

Our four star rating was a nice reflection of all the hard work NBS Underwriting has put in over the last year. It’s been tough for the whole industry, but our absolute focus was to be accessible and consistent for our brokers, to makes their lives easier.

The NBS focus was to continue to deliver product innovation, timely renewals and immediate new business quotes - the broker feedback from the survey backed this up. This was our first year being included in this prestigious survey, so to come away with a four star rating was fantastic.

The data pack we purchased alongside the main report allowed us to really dig into the feedback, so we are now working hard to ensure that we improve enough to hopefully increase our score for next year.

In this year’s survey, which polled more than 1,000 brokers, we found that 7% of respondents were extremely concerned about the prospect of capacity being removed from an MGA, while 69% were moderately or very concerned about this. How do you reassure broker partners about this?

NBS Underwriting is in the very privileged position of being a major partner to Accelerant Insurance, which guarantees capacity in our chosen product lines. We work extremely hard with Accelerant to ensure our products are broker and client focused, that pricing is relevant and service is second to none.

We also work with four other major A rated insurers and have long-term deals in place, which allows us to be consistent in an ever-changing trading environment. These exclusive partnerships have allowed NBS Underwriting to grow in excess of 50% in the last 12 months.

We are very aware that capacity in the market is distressed - even more so in the niche and non-standard areas that NBS specialises in. We are extremely proud to be offering our top quality products to broker partners and our focus now is to find ways in which we can continually improve our offering. We currently have three new products in development that will be rolled out to our broker partners in the next four months.

There will inevitably be a series of challenges for the MGA market over the next 12 months - what do you think will be your MGA’s biggest challenge and how do you aim to tackle this?

Along with an apparent lack of capacity, the hardening market is creating additional issues for our brokers.

Our state-of-the-art insurance platform not only allows dynamic distribution to our brokers, but provides NBS Underwriting and our insurer partners with endless amounts of management information, which allows us to analyse the market, our conversions and retentions, along with our loss ratios.

By being so in touch with our data, we can be agile and innovative with our products and pricing to ensure we remain competitive. We make real-time decisions and changes can be made instantly, all of which is done to benefit our partners - both brokers and insurers.

What new products or service developments do you have in store for the broker community across the next 12 months?

We have three new products in the development test stage at the moment. We have listened to our brokers and focused in on the products they are asking for. These are contractors’ liability, logistics liability and domiciliary care.

We are also adding a new major insurer to our panel within the next two months, which will add huge value to our non-standard household products that cover properties at risk of flooding.

We also trade in Ireland and we have two new products in development for that market also. Our relationships with our insurers coupled with our in-house ability to design, build and launch new schemes and products in as little as three weeks allows us to really take advantage of any opportunity.

We work hard with our brokers to identify the need for new or improved products and we react quickly to these.

In terms of the Insurance Times MGA Data Insight Book, which can be bought alongside the main report, what insight and feedback from brokers really stood out to you and why? 

The data book was a priceless bit of information for the development of NBS Underwriting. Not only did it drill down into the feedback on NBS itself, but it allowed us to see what the market was saying about our competition - both good and bad.

Data like this allows NBS Underwriting to continue our fast innovation and allows us to react to opportunities. It also allows us to focus in on the areas in which we feel we can improve.

NBS Underwriting wants a five star rating next year and we will do all we can to ensure our brokers are satisfied with our products and services.

BSS logo 2021-22

Click here to take part in this year’s survey - all brokers that participate will receive an executive summary of the full report and be entered into a prize draw to win £250 worth of John Lewis vouchers