UK and Europe chief executive outlines the principles behind ‘the Nexus ethos’ which have helped the business become a five star MGA

It has been a busy few years for Nexus Underwriting, the specialty MGA with a focus on niche classes of business.

For example, the firm has embedded several acquisitions - including Hiscox’s marine business, which it bought in December 2020, and financial and professional specialist Plus Risk, which the MGA purchased in July 2019.

Nexus Underwriting is also consistently consolidating its underwriting business units onto a single IT platform, a project that has been ongoing for the past 24 months amid integrating M&A targets. Furthermore, the MGA organised its business into three primary geographic regions in February 2022 – the company currently has offices in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the USA, China and Malaysia.

The MGA’s hard work has not gone unnoticed - it was awarded an overall five star rating by surveyed brokers in Insurance Times’ Five Star Rating Report: MGA market 2022, improving from the four star score it collected last year.

Richard Marriage, chief executive of UK and Europe at Nexus Underwriting, tells Insurance Times: “It is fantastic to be rated so highly by our distribution channel.

“Also, this is a reflection [of] how our amazing people interact with broker partners. Of course, we have a strong product offering, which will place us well among our peers, but [our] true value has to be derived from how we respond [to] and interact with brokers that are seeking to place business with us.”

Marriage highlights qualities such as independence, high service standards and an ability to listen as traits that set Nexus Underwriting apart from some of its rivals in the MGA sector.

He adds: “Our independent brand is key throughout the Nexus ethos.

“We’re not a broker-owned MGA or an offshoot from an insurer - we are a wholly independent business. That may not be unique, but it gives us a very strong character trait for what we do.

“Delivering service, listening to what is asked for, everyone taking responsibility for what they’re doing within the Nexus business.

“It is not just the underwriting - a large part of [what we do] is service. It is the iceberg principle of the underwriters on the front end, visible, but behind them we’ve got [an] operations team that actually deliver.”

Reliable capacity

One major concern highlighted by the majority of brokers polled for the Five Star Rating Report: MGA market 2022 was the prospect of capacity being removed from an MGA. Marriage agrees that managing capacity is critical to Nexus Underwriting’s success.

Richard Marriage, Nexus

Richard Marriage

He says: “Brokers [that] know us see in every transaction that we act like an insurer. We will walk away from business - and regularly do - where the metrics don’t add up to our long-term plans and requirements. Over time, this allows us to have stable capacity relationships - many of which are now multiyear.

“On an operational level, we always strive to communicate with our brokers regarding the status of capacity, renewal dates and progress around renewals. Openness and early communication [are vital].

“We can give strong confidence levels that we’re going through a timely renewal process, that the capacity has been with us a long time.

“We’ve got a lot of underwriting agreements where, although they are annually renewable, we don’t see a lot of deviation from the existing panels. Certainly not from the lead markets.”

External headwinds

However, Nexus Underwriting remains acutely aware that the insurance industry does not operate in a vacuum, so issues like a weakening global economy and rising inflation will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the MGA and its partners.

Marriage states: “We continue to face economic headwinds in many geographies, as well as some softening market conditions in key product areas.

“Ensuring that we balance our approach to managing these challenges is key to our longer-term success.

“Also, ensuring that our people continue to see our values being supported and delivered against is critical - without our teams around the world, we cannot do what we do so well.”