Chief executive emphasises that MGAs must deliver on service and specialist propositions if they are to succeed and ‘meet the demands and needs of brokers’

MGAs are the “jam in the sandwich” that can “compliment” an insurer’s placement strategy – but only if they single-mindedly focus on delivering specialist products and propositions, as well as enhancing service for brokers, according to Jaime Swindle, chief executive of The Ardonagh Group-owned MGA Geo Underwriting.

Speaking at Bravo Networks’ annual conference in March 2023, Swindle explained that MGAs are ideally placed to fill the void between the UK’s company market, which sees insurers offer “standard products”, and the niche London market.

Competing in these crowded, established marketplaces provides no benefit to MGAs, Swindle noted, so these businesses must instead focus on “building unique products and propositions that meet the demands and needs of brokers”.

She continued: “We work with carriers that say ‘we want to change our appetite, we want to change our distribution. We think you can add something that we can’t – let’s make that work’.”

Specialist service

For Swindle, the two key pillars of any successful MGA include the ability to deliver high quality service and providing a specialist proposition that can support insurers with risks that “don’t fit [their] footprint”.

She said: “If I’m not a specialist and I’m not offering service, then I shouldn’t be doing it.

“As the market evolves, we will continue to look at the opportunities available to develop our proposition to ensure it remains unique and of value to the market.

“[Geo Underwriting needs] to be adding something to brokers – [it needs] to be giving access to products that [they] can’t source elsewhere and from a markets point of view, [we] need to be giving [brokers] access to distribution and expertise that [they] wouldn’t be getting directly in that open market.”

Specialist propositions is what will also attract capacity for MGAs from carriers, added Mike Bottle, senior vice-president of Arch Insurance’s UK arm. He noted that Arch Insurance currently works with MGAs operating in niche market segments.

“Without doubt, MGAs offer brokers a service at different points in the [insurance] cycle,” he said. “Certainly, our mantra is to bring specialist capital to brokers that they couldn’t access themselves easily. That gives brokers an option.”