Why did the MGA cross the road?

Managing General Agents (MGAs), a bit like marmite (sorry, a very British reference this week) certainly divide opinion.

For some, they are a strange sandwich layer, sitting somewhat strangely between a broker and an insurer, and, unlike either of those entities, not regulated to the same standard. And, like rabbits on Dunstable Downs, they keep on breeding!

Others with long memories may recollect rogue MGAs of old who were given the pen, but then failed to fill it with the right ink, and ended up busting the very same contraption.

Here at Emerging Risks we tend to take a somewhat different view.

In the current market there can be little doubt that MGAs have attracted a significant amount of underwriting talent, and this is crucial. For at their heart, a good MGA will be one that can cater for a specialist market and offer the kind of bespoke service that, let’s be honest, some carriers can no longer provide.

Alongside expertise and accessibility, one would also expect them to have invested properly in technology.

But perhaps the key point for us is one made by the CEO of the Managing General Agents’ Association (MGAA), Mike Keating, this week at the BIBA annual conference in Manchester.

Keating said that MGAs are being increasingly recognised for the efforts made during the pandemic and will be on the frontline of the industry’s strategies to support brokers in meeting the challenges of emerging risks.

Speaking in Manchester at the BIBA annual conference, he said that MGAs were flourishing and the changing risks faced by policyholders has highlighted the benefits they can deliver.

To quote: “MGAs are closer to the market and the brokers, and as such understand the way risks are changing… they also understanding the changing requirements from the customer.”

“They have the ability to bring new products and change existing products far quicker than insurers. I am not criticising insurers, but they are larger entities and as such it take more time for internal processes to be completed and for changes to be made.”

Small, nimble, expert and with their ear properly attuned to key emerging risks for business? We’ll say amen to that.

Oh yes, why did the MGA cross the road? Why, to help facilitate emerging risks!

Marcus Alcock

Editor, Emerging Risks

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