New Singapore MGA Criterion to focus on cyber, specialist risks

Firm aims to reach segments “less well-served” by established insurers

New Singapore MGA Criterion to focus on cyber, specialist risks


By Gabriel Olano

Criterion Underwriting, an independent managing general agent (MGA), launched its business at the 15th Singapore International Reinsurance Conference on Monday.

The firm underwrites and manages a broad range of specialist insurance products on behalf of insurance and reinsurance companies. These products, concentrated in cyber and financial lines, are available to financial institutions, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and individual retail customers. It is also planning to enter the marine insurance business by the end of this year.

Criterion’s principal investors are Singapore-based Asia Re Holdings and B.P. Marsh & Partners of the UK.

“Our decision to adopt the MGA model in Singapore is based on the fact that we can offer a broad line of products to market segments less well-served by the established insurance industry,” said Jonathan Ranger, CEO of Criterion Underwriting. “We believe our competitive advantage lies in specialising within the products we offer and leveraging enhanced service standards plus our underwriting and management experience.”

Joining Ranger is chief underwriting officer Shan Sagoo, who brings her over 20 years’ experience in underwriting and broking in financial lines insurance.

Amid several major cyberattacks, Criterion believes that the public’s awareness of cyber threats is rising, driving demand for cyber insurance among individuals and businesses to mitigate potential financial losses.

According to Sagoo, the interest in cyber insurance in the EU is mostly driven by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the hefty fines for violating it. The regulatory environment in Asia is also evolving, with revisions to Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act, such as mandatory breach notification, to be discussed in Parliament next year.

“This, along with the Singapore government’s Smart Nation initiatives and recent high-profile data breaches, will serve to boost the profile of cyber insurance,” she said.

“We see Criterion Underwriting as setting a standard and becoming a model for how to create a successful independent MGA – strong financial backing combined with underwriting experience and respect for the regulatory and compliance,” Ranger concluded.

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