’There is a huge attraction to MGAs for talent,’ says director

MGAs are taking an “increasing share of wallet” from brokers and now form a “fundamental part” of brokers’ placement strategies in the UK. 

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That was according to Managing General Agents’ Association (MGAA) chief executive Mike Keating, who spoke as part of a panel during Insurance Times’ Navigating Excellence: A Deep Dive into the 2024 MGA Ratings webinar. 

Hosted yesterday (7 February 2024), the webinar was chaired by Insurance Times head of research Savan Shah, who was also joined by MPR Underwriting director Tim Jones and Geo Underwriting sales director Karen Jackman.

Keating explained: ”Frankly, I can only see a continuing tailwind where MGAs will continue to innovate and provide an unparalleled service level.” 

Jones added: ”Seven years ago there might have been a thought that MGAs were a bit of a trend or fragile option, but the track record has increased confidence within the insurance sector around the MGA model.”

The panellists noted a number of key reasons for the continuining success of MGAs and primarily highlighted the importance of providing good service to brokers. 

Keating explained: ”MGAs were already getting a larger share of wallet before Covid, but once Covid hit MGAs did not miss a heartbeat in terms of their delivery to brokers during an extremely challenging time.

“MGAs continute to provide access decision makers and a level of service [which allows] brokers absolute confidence that they can go back to their client and say they will get renewal terms or a new business quotation for you.” 

Talent pipeline 

The webinar panel also discussed the issue of talent in the underwriting community, agreeing that the MGA model provided opportunities for skilled underwriters to work “on the front line”.

Jones explained: ”There is a huge attraction to MGAs for talent. MGAs come in lots of different shapes and sizes and people that have huge amounts of experience want to be able to use that experience in a more direct and flexible way.”

The advantage of MGAs in terms of service to brokers is also seen in the smaller size of organisations, where there is better “continuity of underwriting staff for multiple years” that provides stable relationships and trust, added Jones. 

Keating also noted that the operational models of MGAs were an attractive element for talented underwriters. 

He explained: ”It’s just the nature of very large organisations that agility and innovation to create a programme that is designed for brokers can be slightly stifled, which is actually leading that talent moving from insurers into the MGA world.” 

Talking about the business proposition for MPR Underwriting, Jones said: ”One of the areas we felt was declining a little bit in the UK regional space [when we set up MPR seven years ago] was direct underwriter access and underwriter service.” 

Because of this, MPR and many other MGAs have emphasised “service excellence and accessibility to quality underwriters who know what they’re doing and will come back quickly”. 

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