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1st February 2012

The MGAA-providing timely support for UK underwriting agencies
Interview

The insurance world will be hearing much more from the expanding UK underwriting agency sector as its new supporting association begins to make an impact. The "not-for-profit" Managing General Agents' Association(MGAA)was formed last September to provide representation, promotion, stability, and competitiveness to UK MGAs that account for around £1.25bn of gross written premiums in the country. They have lacked a representative presence unlike MGAs in other developed insurance markets such as the US that have a strong collective voice.
Underwriting agencies fall in between insurers and brokers, answering to the insurer. They could also be part of an insurer or broker, providing they are automonous operationally.
The MGAA is already at work liaising with regulators, goverment, and educational bodies on behalf of its members-there are 43 MGA members, 14 insurer members and 17 supplier members at present and numbers are growing. Shortly, a ceo will be appointed and director and committee elections held. Up to now, leading industry figures have been co-opted as directors.
Insurance Newslink met with chairman Reg Brown to get the inside track. As befits a past president of the Chartered Insurance Institute(CII), he wants to raise the profile of the sector, with ethics, professionism, and education to the fore-aspiring to a Chartered MGA title for individuals and member companies, with the MGAA members having their own Code of Conduct within the framework of the CII.
He also emphasized the need for a collective lobbying voice and to enable practical assistance and development of special schemes.
Supplier membership includes legal and IT companies-in fact, in the last fortnight, two of the founder IT members have indicated their strong support-Wildnet launched MGA Professional, a new software offering, and SSP, with 19 MGAs already as clients, have made a senior appointment to emphasize its focus on the sector.
Running costs of around 125,000 in the first year are to be funded by membership fees-the target is to enrol 75% of the market in this period. The IUA is providing office accomodation.
Under Reg Brown's guidance, supported by co-opted directors representing the market, UK underwriting agencies have at last got a co-ordinated, professional and practical representative organisation which is destined to be increasingly influential on behalf of its MGA members.