What is it that defines a successful MGA entrepreneur? I believe that there is often too much pressure placed on one key person to be the overall defining force behind the business. In reality the most successful MGAs have a balance of skills, generally delivered by more than one person.
Perhaps the most important factors often cited for the ideal MGA start-up entrepreneur are someone who is good at both insurance underwriting and insurance distribution as well as having a good grasp of the numbers, however few are really good at all three, although often one person does take on the entire job alone.
Whilst an underwriter’s skill makes them ideally placed to assess the profitability of the business they are shown, they are not trained as managers. Brokers, who are also often the main drivers of a MGA start-up because of their excellent distribution and selling skills, often find that the qualities that make high achieving brokers are not exactly the same as those of a good CEO.
So the challenge is to forge together the required mix of attributes, of those capable of making money in the insurance business with the vital managerial skill of running a successful enterprise.
The combination of an underwriter, with a successful track record, a broker capable of bringing in business and continuing to build relationships, melded together with some form of assistance on finance, regulation and operations as part of a partnership with a specialist insurance service provider can prove to be a powerful team for a successful MGA.
Of course even with the ‘right’ team in place, a small start-up situation determines that the personality and dynamics between the senior management becomes very important to its success. With the ability to work in partnership based on shared goals and values being a defining feature of a growing business.
There needs to be joint commitment to the business ethos and nowhere is this more important than in understanding that distribution and selling throughout the life cycle of the MGA is vital – there can be no resting on past successes.
John Holm has a strong background of corporate banking in the City, specialising over the last 30 years in relationship banking, debt origination, and M&A transactions in the insurance sector across the UK, Europe, Bermuda and North America.
After senior roles within RBS, National Australia Bank and Clydesdale Bank, John moved to a new role within Capita Insurance Services Ltd where he worked with start-up Managing General Agencies (MGAs), providing working capital, taking minority equity stakes and NED roles on behalf of Capita.
John moved to Asta in 2015 as MGA Executive, working on the development of Asta’s MGA platform and developing a new business pipeline of MGA investment transactions.
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