Earlier this year we witnessed the merging of PIB Group’s specialist managing general agents aQmen Underwriting Services, TFP Schemes, and Thistle Underwriting Services to form Q Underwriting Services Ltd. This consolidated underwriting division now also includes the recently launched unit Q Property Underwriting Services.
At the helm of it all is Q Underwriting chief executive Bernard Mageean (pictured), who tells Insurance Business what he loves about the industry as well as what he sees as the biggest challenge in his new capacity. Formerly managing director for underwriting and placement, Mageean also outlines what he believes are the two things they have to get right to achieve long-term success.
How did your career in insurance start and what led you to PIB Group?
I started my career as an underwriter at Sun Alliance. Since then I’ve had a variety of business and leadership roles, but I still regard myself as an underwriter.
I’ve known Brendan McManus (CEO of PIB Group) for many years and when he was getting PIB started he wanted to grow an MGA, so asked me to join. The MGA world in the UK is evolving and developing significantly at the moment – it’s an exciting time to be involved.
What priorities have you set following the launch of Q Underwriting?
We want Q to be a successful underwriting business. We will deliver a simple and efficient service to brokers while keeping firmly in mind that we need to deliver a profit to our insurer partners. If we get those two things right, then we will build a long-term successful business.
As chief executive of the new entity, what is your biggest challenge?
Trying not to get involved in day-to-day underwriting – I still love it! I have always believed it’s the quality of the underwriting that counts, not the quality of the risk. Creating great underwriting talent is absolutely crucial to a successful MGA.
In terms of industry developments, which would you say have been the most notable over the years and how do they impact Q Underwriting?
The growth and development of MGAs. Just look at the growth in membership at the MGAA (Managing General Agents’ Association) and the rise of MGA incubators to help fledgling underwriting businesses. Many of these MGAs focus on specialisms and rely on high standards of underwriting. It really is an exciting time to be involved in the MGA world.
If you didn’t work in insurance, what would you choose to do?
My passion outside of work is walking, so something involving that... Maybe a postman or a tour guide!
Name one thing your peers probably don’t know about you.
Well, I’ve already shared my passion for walking. I think we all adopt a work persona that you develop over time to get the job done, then there’s the real you which is outside of work. Outside of work I am very chilled out and relaxed.