“A global reach for MGAs and Brokers is key as they look to new markets”

14th May 2024

Emma Plush, Director – MGA & Broker Solutions at Davies explains why a global reach is ever more important to the business and why picking the right partner is as important as many MGAs and brokers look to new markets.

Tell us about your career to date.

I studied Accounting & Finance at university including insurance modules which helped me understand the role it plays in supporting business and driving innovation, so it was something in which I was interested.

From this I worked for a period of time at an insurance company and then joined Asta in 2012 as Administrative Assistant. Asta was attractive given the broad range of clients and the exposure to a wide variety of classes which allowed me to have a wide experience and not look to specialise at a young age. For me it was and still is an excellent place to learn about insurance and the Lloyd’s and London markets.

In 2015 Asta launched its MGA incubator platform AUML and I saw an opportunity to learn new skills in a new area of the business. MGAs remain an excellent vehicle for entrepreneurial minds to back their own ability and add value to the placement chain with their expertise. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with AUML and after, the Davies acquisition of Asta in 2022, we had opportunity to bring the best parts of AUML together with Davies MGA.  I was delighted to lead this initiative and create a single market leading platform which is able to service a wide range of MGAs on a global basis.

How has the insurance market changed since you started?

In terms of the MGA market the growth has been significant. When I first started MGAs were very much viewed as a US structure, however that has changed significantly in the past decade. The growth in numbers has been rapid and we are seeing some new dynamics with entrepreneurs needing more capital to make the move to create an MGA.

The increased use of technology has been a major feature and is aiding placement of business and also assisting underwriters in understanding the ever more complex risk profiles they are seeing. Internally we have the opportunity to take lessons learned and knowledge from a wider pool of experience, to provide greater support for our clients as they undertake their journeys.

What have been the main priorities you’ve been working on since taking on the role?

Our single platform, created from two existing successful platforms, provides our clients with all the requirements needed to succeed. We have combined the best of what Davies and Asta have to offer, and in doing so created a singular, powerful proposition. We can support a variety of MGA types in multiple territories. We focus on assisting MGAs to achieve their strategic plans be it to expand globally or become their own risk bearing entity through our Syndicate and Captive platforms.

We have devised a highly flexible platform depending on who you are and what you’re trying to achieve.  Our focus is to find the right solution for the client’s needs and strategic plans. We understand the importance of governance and control while enabling speed to market and fostering innovation.

Our geographical capability is unique, and our aim is to support MGAs not just in the UK but globally, and we are seeing increasing demand from clients for support to expand into new territories. We currently support launches in Europe, Guernsey, Dubai and Singapore with strategic plans to expand to new territories including Bermuda.

Why are MGAs such an important part of the insurance ecosystem and how do you see the market developing in the future?

There has always been a gap between insurers and brokers. It is one which requires the innovation and agility that has become the hallmark of a successful MGA, especially when combined with expertise, local market access, and quality product.

For instance, one of our clients, Arma is based in the UAE and backed by London market and local capacity. It specialises in its local market, enabling good quality business to be supported by Lloyd’s capacity.  This creates opportunity for London market capacity to access the market with few of the risks that would be evident if they sought to do so directly.

MGAs are also proving they can also provide cover where the market is currently struggling to do so. One example is Ticker, a growing motor telematics MGA targeting non-standard drivers. It uses the latest technology to support its operations and offers cover for young and convicted drivers, two areas where specialist attention is required outside of the regular car insurance considerations.

Davies also launch and manage Brokers. Tell us more about that side of the business.

Brokers are clearly a key component of the market and distribution chain. The ability to have a process which will allow them to access the market and set up quickly and easily is vital. We are able to provide solutions to achieve those aims with our range of support services.

One of our most exciting and recent developments has been the launch of Davies Broking Europe, which comes with the relevant permissions to operate across Europe. We are increasingly seeing brokers who are keen to access Europe as the UK market continues to become more saturated and competitive. Our objective is to ensure we can meet the needs of our clients, many of whom have been looking to expand across the globe. Davies Broking Europe is one part of our global operations which allows us to work with brokers to enable them to achieve their international ambitions.

We ensure that we have operating models which are broker focused. We are not looking to offer a one size fits all approach. Our approach needs to be as bespoke as our clients and the products they transact. We work hard to understand our client’s business and mirror the services we provide to reflect their specific needs.

What advice would you offer to aspiring insurance entrepreneurs or companies looking to establish an MGA?

You really need to ensure that you select your partner wisely! Surround yourself with people who have the experience and that will allow you to benefit from the lessons learned from previous launches and operations of MGAs. They can help you reduce the execution risks. You need a strategic partner who will be your advocate, help you grow, and who have a range of solutions that can be deployed at the right time for your business.

Ensure you have access to cost-effective services, with a partner that can deliver economies of scale, and flexibility. The importance of governance and regulation cannot be overstated and in Davies you are in safe hands. You need to work hard to get it right the first time. When things go wrong you will find that it is very difficult to unpick those mistakes.

If you weren’t helping MGAs and brokers succeed, what would you be doing?

If I could choose anything it would be playing golf. However, if I am being sensible, I think it would be working in investment. I like helping people achieve what they want to achieve. It might be around the delivery of seed capital to provide the funding for new businesses. I suppose there are a lot of similarities to the support and advice we provide to brokers and MGAs at Davies.

I have always thought of doing something in horticulture which would be very attractive, but I thoroughly enjoy the job I do, the support we provide and working in the insurance industry.

If you would like to continue the conversation, get in touch with Director of MGA & Broker Solutions, Emma Plush at emma.plush@davies-group.com

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