As our cover this week illustrates, the market appears to be at a turning poin

The latest data from Acturis points to average premiums rising this quarter with stand-out numbers showing increases in commercial combined and property owners. Year-on-year quarterly premium indicators are up 5% too (see page 12).

However, traction in the rating environment is not the only reason for optimism. You only have to look at JLT’s numbers to see that the market is full of opportunity and organic growth. JLT has secured carriers for its managed general agency, Thistle, in a move that is fast becoming flavour of the month. But just how many of these agency offshoots will be profitable – and make a bit of money for their insurer partners too?

In one of the worst-kept market secrets, former Primary boss Jonathan Davey this week explains why he has the golden MGA ticket for technology platform SSP (see page 7). It’s an interesting variation to the model and Davey certainly has the knowledge, experience and means to pull it off, even if we have to wait to find out where the capacity will emerge from. But it also begs the question as to what SSP’s wider raison d’être will be in the medium to long term.

Meanwhile, check out the latest data on deals (page 10). The signs point to a pick-up in management buy-out activity, a return of confidence to financial backers and an expectation of an increase in deals among insurance practitioners. Surely that’s got to offset some of the doom and gloom expected over the next few days during the insurer results seasons, hasn’t it?

No? Then read Matthew Stringer’s column on page 14. The 22-year-old entrepreneur, who shares his frustration about insurers, is the epitome of the next generation of broker start-up, as well as further proof that the independent market is alive and can prosper. Stringer is also a member of the IT?Pack, and you can see coverage of the latest event for young brokers, this time in Manchester, on page 21. Maybe it’s not so gloomy out there after all. IT