MGA wants to be second biggest farm insurer in three years

Rural Insurance is plotting to take on NFU Mutual in a bid to become the second largest farm insurer within three years.

NFU mutual controls about 65% of the farm insurance market, according to Rural managing director Ian Barclay. MGA Rural competes with the likes of NIG-owned FarmWeb, Towergate Underwriting and Aviva for the remaining 35%.

Rural, which is owned by UK General, has agencies with 800 brokers and receives 55% of its £32m gross written premium from 30 of them.

In order to grow, Barclay said he would work with brokers to help them win business from NFU Mutual, which sells to policyholders directly.

“There’s bound to be an element of complacency in there. We know consumers have been with the NFU for generations, and we need to make sure they are aware there are other alternatives out there,” Barclay told Insurance Times.

“If they are complacent I want to make sure we’re there ready to take advantage of that.”

Barclay said Rural, helped by a raft of recent recruits, would look to provide more support to brokers earlier in the insurance buying cycle.

“At the moment the broker tells us they’re in competition with the NFU and the support they need. I think there’s an opportunity to start the process earlier in the cycle and in a more strategic way than we have done in the past,” he added.

Rural will also give brokers better marketing and compliance support, Barclay said.

Rural’s business is predominantly in the north of England and Scotland and it is targeting growth in Wales, the South West and East Anglia.

“We’re focusing our efforts on supporting brokers that want to grow. It’s about having a trading partnership arrangement rather than a supplier-distributor arrangement,” Barclay said.

Rural will relaunch its farm combined product in coming months after brokers told it the environmental impairment liability coverage was not competitive.

The new policy will also have updated wordings, Barclay added.