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MGAA Conference 2022 Recap

Insurtech2Mins
2022-07-06Written by Aisha Owolabi

We recently attended the MGAA 2022 conference in London. Here's our recap of the key talking points from the event and action items for all MGAs and other members of the insurance industry. Keep reading to learn more!

Last week, we attended the Managing General Agents' Association (MGAA) 2022 conference, bringing Managing General Agents (MGAs), Insurers, and Brokers together to discuss ways for MGAs to strengthen their agility and flexibility and continue delivering value-centric solutions to their customers. It was amazing to be back at a live conference after several years of virtual events - the venue was packed with more than 700 attendees! The hx booth was buzzing all day, and we enjoyed being back face to face with old friends and new. 

This year's conference was themed "Seize the Opportunity", opening conversations on taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves and creating new ones by adopting innovative practices.   

There was a packed agenda of lively debates and panel discussions touching on key themes that are crucial issues in the MGA Community today, including claims, compliance and regulation, Lloyd's versus the Company Market, and Diversity and Inclusion.   

Read on to see our recap of the key talking points from the conference and action items for all MGAs and other insurance industry members! 

What is the opportunity for MGAs? 

David Howden, CEO of Howden Group, opened the day with a keynote speech on the market opportunity for MGAs. MGAs are currently worth 10% of the insurance market with $12.5bn in revenues and $100bn premiums written globally in 2020. He highlighted that MGAs are uniquely positioned to offer underwriting credibility, advanced tech and data analytics, and improved alignment models to deliver profitable outcomes for carrier partners and themselves. 

However, MGAs need to align their strategies with topics clients are thinking about and think holistically to offer innovative solutions. David cited the war in Ukraine, inflation, energy prices, cyber threats, supply chain issues, increasing costs of commodities, and climate change as some of the areas where MGAs have an opportunity to make a real difference with product innovation.

Lloyd’s vs Company Markets as capacity for MGAs 

With the emergence of new capital vehicles seeking to support new and existing MGAs, the argument around what is the most attractive home for capacity continues to rage. The Company Market has undoubtedly raised its proposition and access over the past few years whilst Lloyd's continues to promote itself as the expert for niche and specialist business.  

We saw a lively panel session on the topic featuring Ant Gould, Director and Head of Content at Full Circle Corporate Communications, Peter Montanaro, Director of Market Oversight at Lloyd's, Philip Ost, Head of Personal Lines at Zurich, and Roshan Choolhun, Head of Exponential.  

Roshan, drawing from his vast experience of both Company Markets and Lloyd's, highlighted the lack of understanding and alignment internally at Lloyd's, hindering effective collaboration with MGAs. Peter from Lloyd's counteracted, emphasising some key initiatives the market has put in place to improve collaboration with MGAs, including continuous contracts, a 24hr response model leveraging compliance data, and an innovation lab.  

In a back and forth with Peter, Philip from Zurich discussed some advantages of Company Markets, including direct engagement with MGAs, longer-term engagements, and speedier transactions.  

The panel also explored how MGAs could make their businesses more attractive to Company Markets and Lloyd's for improved collaboration, including developing clear business plans and ideas, embracing compliance, increased transparency, better data analysis, and more.   

Our key takeaway: To build the future we want to see in the insurance industry, we need elements from both Lloyds and Company Markets! hx can help by giving capacity providers confidence in an MGA's ability to analyse and understand risk with increased pricing transparency and data-driven decision-making. Get our recent ebook to learn more about how we do this. 

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 

The insurance industry has come some way in tackling equality, diversity and inclusion in the sector, but there is no doubt that room for further improvement and positive change remains.  

For many of today's young workforce, a workplace culture underpinned by equality, diversity, and inclusion is a crucial factor in choosing a place of work and, subsequently, how long they stay at a company.   

We heard from Mark Lomas, Head of Culture at Lloyd's, Ben Smyth, CEO & Founder of Arma Karma and Bal Mahil, Head of Distribution Operations at AXA XL, on some key steps the industry can take to accelerate diversity and inclusion.   

The panel highlighted that the insurance industry is currently behind the curve compared to other sectors as it relates to embracing diversity and inclusion and creating an enabling environment for people from diverse backgrounds to thrive.  

Some areas to be addressed include:  

  • Collecting data on ethnicity  
  • Building long-term D&I strategies  
  • Being more deliberate about holding business leaders accountable for D&I and culture  
  • Weaving D&I into holistic organisational culture and championing advocates across all business sectors  
  • Making job descriptions more accessible to diverse groups through better recruitment, talent, and human resource strategies   
  • Tracking D&I metrics as a part of the overall business strategy  

Our key takeaway: The insurance industry's evolution as it relates to Diversity and Inclusion is too slow. To achieve maximum results, we must be more deliberate about developing long-term strategies to propagate a diverse and inclusive culture across all organisational processes. 

Compliance: The elephant in the room 

Governance and compliance are essential pillars in all parts of the MGA ecosystem, and each stakeholder plays a vital role in ensuring the right customer outcomes.  

Claire Churchard, Senior Editor at Insurance Group Newton Media, Suneeta Padda, Director at Padda Consulting, Nameeta Biswas, Chief Compliance Counsel at Harbour Underwriting, Katherine Webster, Director of Governance, Risk and Conduct at AXA, and Elliot Dunseath, Head of Compliance at Kentro Capital Limited all got together to discuss this topic in detail, exploring if regulation is an inhibitor to innovation and if stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities in the increasing avalanche of new regulatory reforms. 

The panel highlighted that although regulatory changes can be challenging for MGAs and they may struggle to comply, those changes can sometimes be an opportunity when they're aligned with overall business values, for example, regulations around increased diversity and inclusion in the industry. 

The panel also forecasted some regulatory changes in the coming months, including: 

  • More regulation around the overall fintech and Insurtech markets 
  • Cryptocurrency and insurance regulations for land purchase in the metaverse 
  • More politically and economically driven regulations around Brexit, inflation, and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) 

Our key takeaway: MGAs need to leverage tech and hire the right talent to enable better and faster decision-making and ensure compliance with ever-changing regulations. 

The Claims Conundrum – Partnership or disconnect? 

The relationship between insurers, MGAs, and claim Third Party Administrators (TPA) has never been more critical in delivering the best customer experience, controlling loss ratio, and overseeing indemnity spend. 

A Clyde & Co survey in 2021 suggested a widening disconnect between these stakeholders, which could potentially undermine their core objectives and David Worsfold, Head of Worsfold Media, Kath Mainon, Claims Solutions CEO at Davies Group, Colin Herrington, Head of Claims at GRP Group, and Jeremy Trott, Claims Director at Ecclesiastical, discuss the key drivers, challenges and potential solutions that can be implemented to ensure claims delivery through this typical MGA model, is best in class. 

The panel highlighted the need for increased communication, alignment, and transparency amongst brokers and MGAs on why premiums may be getting more expensive to avoid underinsurance.  

Our key takeaway: Brokers and MGAs need to operate with a shared vision and improved focus on customer centricity and data analysis to optimise decision-making. 

In conclusion  

It was a remarkable day packed with lots of debate and an incredibly positive outlook for the future with the emergence of technology, intentional steps towards diversity and inclusion, and the increased need for customer-centricity in all business areas.

Charles Manchester, CEO of Manchester Underwriting Management, spoke at the beginning of the day about the importance of MGAs being able to show that they add value rather than take it away. At hx, we agree, which is why we help tech-driven MGAs streamline their underwriting with greater collaboration, powerful automation and real-time data. Learn more about how hx can help you unlock helpful insights and supercharge your business here.

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