MPR managing director Neil McCarthy tells Insurance Times head of research Savan Shah what it feels like scoring five stars in this year’s MGA survey for the fourth year in a row
In the Five Star Rating Report – MGA Market 2023/24, which was officially launched in full on 10 January 2024, MPR was again awarded a five star rating.
This is the fourth year in a row that the firm has achieved the top and represents a consistent trajectory for the business.
Brokers also improved their broker service ratings for MPR year-on-year, with the MGA’s rating rising 0.04 from the last report to reach a total of 4.94 in this year’s report – up from 4.90 last year.
Neil McCarthy, the firm’s managing director spoke to Insurance Times about its results.
What is your reaction to the star rating and how have you managed to be so consistent?
We were obviously very pleased with the results. We think we do a good job, but we can ever be sure, so the survey is a great sense check for us.
If we go all the way back to the brand creation process in 2016, we are exactly the same today as we were on day one and have stuck to our core competencies with carefully managed distribution and curated content.
Nothing has changed in our approach, our attitude and the commitment to be recognised as a leader in our classes of insurance, and this comes through in that consistent survey feedback, so it is terrifically rewarding.
How would you respond to broker concerns about the threat of arrangements at MGAs being withdrawn or altered in a precarious market?
We recognise the concern, but would also observe that the most recent inconsistency and turbulence has been from the company markets.
A strongly differentiated MGA is arguably better positioned than most companies because they have more options in the event of an unexpected sequencing of events, particularly if the MGA has a track record of operational excellence.
All market participants are at the mercy of unforeseen circumstances and MGAs are no different, but a consistent and measured approach mitigate that feature of MGAs and performance is, ultimately, the yardstick by which all financial lines underwriters will be measured.
What key developments have taken place at your MGA over the last 12 months and what can brokers expect over the next 12 months?
Although service is clearly a huge differentiator for us, we have been able to improve the back office experience for our staff. This allows us to better manage growth and liberate the huge experience in the team to focus on what they do best by providing high quality outcomes for our brokers.
We have also continued to be agile in our response to market opportunities and created a product for employee ownership trusts, our eight bespoke management liability product.
What trading support does MPR provide to brokers in the UK?
Brokers know what to expect from MPR, but we are happy to codify our relationships through ‘underwriting and consultancy’ agreements.
This sets out commitments in areas such as marketing support, training for staff, policy comparisons and editorial assistance. This is in addition to high quality insurance products and unrestricted access to the whole underwriting team on any matter.
What do you feel will be MPR’s biggest challenge and how do you hope to meet this challenge?
We are constantly scanning the horizon for developments which might affect our operational environment.
Inflationary pressures and wider fears of recession are on our radar, with a clear correlation between insolvency and directors and officers claims, but there are also challenges around costs inflation which feed into the pricing frameworks, which we are constantly across.
Frequent and clear communication with all stakeholders is vital to the process but we are nimble and agile and are able to respond quickly to changing circumstances with no bureaucracy or hierarchy to navigate.
What will you be working on in the year ahead to maintain your five-star rating in next year’s survey?
That is a difficult question in view of our performance over the last four years. All we can say is that we are as committed to excellence as much today as we were over seven years ago when we set up MPR and this will not change, so we hope to be able to continue to deliver a five star service and performance again.
What is the importance of specialism to MPR and the brokers you serve?
We strongly believed we could create one of the most clearly differentiated propositions in the market putting accessible, flexible underwriting at the heart of what we do and leveraging unparalleled levels of experience and knowledge.
This is clearly important and speaks to the specialism factor but we do find that we are valued because of the high quality service proposition so, whilst specialism is critical, optimum delivery of that specialism is equally as important.
Please tell our readers about these areas of service in relation to your MGA’s service offering?
MPR have over 200 years combined financial lines experience in the team and was founded on the core principles of accessible and market leading expertise, which are right the very centre of our brand values and beliefs.
The Insurance Times MGA survey is important to MPR because it articulates and emphasises the point around service levels as clearly as any agreements can and demonstrates our strongest possible levels of commitment to this.
With a particular focus on research in etrading, MGAs, digital transformation and commercial and personal lines insurance, he has been instrumental in the development of the Insurance Times 5-star ratings reports, data insight books, webinars and more.View full Profile