Pen Underwriting : Everything you need to know

Pen Underwriting: Everything you need to know

Headquarters address: Level 11, 99 York Street, Sydney, New South Wales 2000, Australia

Year established: 2013

Number of employees: 60

Underwriting expertise: Construction, general liability, hospitality and leisure, care liability, professional risks, property, care property, and transport

Key people: Ken Keenan (chief executive), Alisa Martins (chief operating officer, underwriting operations), Lenu Lukose (property portfolio manager), Nick Best (team manager – property), Kerrie Coxell (team manager – care liability), Paul Behm (underwriting manager – hospitality), Barry Long (team manager – general liability), Chris Bounos (underwriting manager – professional risks), Alicia Stell (team manager – transport)

About Pen Underwriting

Pen Underwriting is a specialist insurance underwriting agency under Arthur J Gallagher & Co. that deals in a wide range of business lines, including general and leisure liability, professional risks, contingency, and property insurance. It was formed from the merger of two managing general agents under AJG – Australis Group Underwriting and SRS Underwriting Agency.

The merged entity was rebranded under the name Pen Underwriting, reflecting Gallagher’s similar move in the UK, where it applied the Pen brand as the collective identity for its UK managing general agencies. In Australia, Pen is headquartered in Sydney, and has branches in Brisbane and Melbourne.

After the merger, SRS founding director Paul Lynam became CEO. In 2015, Lynam left Pen and Peter Searson, chairman of AJG Asia-Pacific, led the firm on an interim basis. A few months later, Gary Marshall took the helm of the company until his retirement at the end of 2017. He was succeeded by Ken Keenan.

According to Pen Underwriting, its main philosophy is to draw upon its collective knowledge and experience to anticipate the needs of its brokers and their clients. It seeks to create innovative products and risk solutions across a broad range of insurance classes.

“What sets Pen Underwriting apart is our people; every single one of us really wants to deliver for our brokers and capacity providers,” Keenan said in a recent interview with Insurance Business. “We’ve done the math; between us, we have over 1,000 years of underwriting experience, and we leverage this every day to produce outstanding results.”

Pen works with the Lloyd’s of London and Australian markets to provide brokers and clients with 100% placement, lead, or co-insurance capacity.

Pen Underwriting in the news

July 2017: Pen Underwriting appoints Ken Keenan as chief executive

March 2019: Pen Underwriting restructures its liability teams

October 2020: Pen Underwriting CEO Ken Keenan shares his thoughts on COVID-19 and business interruption policies

September 2021: Pen Underwriting chief executive Ken Keenan shares what’s driving the growth at the agency

July 2022: Pen Underwriting CEO Ken Keenan discusses how inflation impacts underwriters

January 2023: Pen Underwriting CEO Ken Keenan shares what sets the company apart

May 2023: Pen Underwriting property team manager Nick Best talks about how brokers can navigate the busiest time of the year like a pro

Key people

Ken Keenan – CEO

Keenan became CEO of Pen Underwriting in 2018 after the retirement of Gary Marshall. He has more than 35 years of insurance industry experience across several countries. Keenan spent a decade in Canada holding a variety of leadership of roles, including CEO at Gallagher’s Canada, and president at Noraxis Capital Corporation and Canadian Northern Shield. Earlier in his career, he also worked with RSA Zurich and Eagle Star in Ireland. He spent two years with Eagle Star in the UK.

As Pen chief executive, Keenan has overall responsibility for the direction and performance of the business. “It is all about the people, the wonderful team members we have right across the Pen business, including those in its service centre in India, the people who work in the brokers we deal with across Australia every day who trust us to provide great solutions for their clients and finally, the incredible support we get from the executives and underwriters at the insurance companies we represent,” Keenan said about the role.

Pen encourages its employees to volunteer for charitable causes in their communities, with 7.5 hours of paid leave each year dedicated to giving back. In August 2018, several employees spent a day working with Foodbank, Australia’s largest hunger relief organisation. The team members helped sort and pack over 1,000 kilograms of produce.

It also holds an annual charity golf day, with the 2017 edition benefiting The Bear Cottage children’s hospice.

The firm frequently attends Underwriting Agencies Council (UAC) Expos nationwide, with its underwriters present to meet and chat with brokers and clients.

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