The London insurance market has thrived on the interconnectedness and availability of key players in the market to meet and work together – a factor that has driven the development of the rapidly growing MGA sector. The purpose of this blog is to raise the question with insurance professionals outside the London market about how we can ensure that the whole UK insurance industry has access to the opportunities that MGA status brings.
Hardly a week goes by without talk of a Northern Powerhouse and as BIBA last month demonstrated, Manchester is certainly a vibrant and dynamic insurance business location. But the regions of the United Kingdom extend from such places as Brighton in the South of England to Inverness in the north of Scotland and there needs to be greater opportunities for insurance entrepreneurs across the country to gain access to the opportunity to set up their own MGA. As last week’s referendum demonstrated there are distinct differences between the regions of the UK and I am keen to understand what these mean for business and develop stronger co-operation across all sectors and regions of the insurance market.
The vast majority of UK regional markets have substantial quantities of SME business, much of which is ideal for the specialist and profitable niches that many MGAs fill. There are significant regional brokers with line slips and facilities that would also be able to develop great MGAs.
I want to enter into a dialogue to find out how we can develop a pipeline of regional MGA start-ups in the same way as we have been able to via the London market.
It is the informal networks of proximity that have built the London market and I want to understand how insurance people come together in cities and regions across the United Kingdom. What are the informal links and do they have greater importance than the more formal approaches delivered by organisations such as regional Chartered Insurance Institute and BIBA branches as well as Chambers of Commerce?
I also wonder if the support services that have built up in London, advisors, accountants, bankers, consultants and lawyers are as readily available in the regions?
My view is that the big advisory firms probably need to develop specialist regional insurance capabilities or perhaps this is an opportunity for entrepreneurial advisory firms to develop an industry specialism that really understands the local market needs. I believe the current lack of availability of advisors to the insurance industry outside of London may be letting the market down.
Asta, as the leading independent Lloyd’s Managing Agency that can provide start-up finance aligned to the full range of MGA administrative and regulatory services, is keen to be a significant part of building links with would be regional MGAs and seeing them succeed. As such I’m interested in hearing the views of insurance professionals outside of London about how we can make accessing the opportunities of the MGA business model increasingly available to them.
I know through experience that the skills and expertise that are available in the UK regions, particularly in the SME sector, are second to none. I am therefore keen to help bridge the gap for MGA start-up in the regions.
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.
020 7743 0809