When Mike Keating (pictured) first stepped into his position as CEO of the Managing General Agents’ Association (MGAA), he identified the role of the association in providing “all the necessary support, engagement and tools” to help MGAs meet the market challenges of today and the future. Just over two years later, the MGAA has gone from strength to strength, fielding an 18% increase in its membership base across all tiers and securing several key senior leadership appointments.
Looking back on his tenure to date, Keating highlighted how the association’s recent milestones can be broadly divided into four categories. The first, he said, is the assembling of an exceptional new executive team – a feat that has been recognised in the reception and feedback of members. The second is how the MGAA team has been able to execute the findings of the comprehensive research it carried out in 2021 to determine its members’ requirements and expectations.
“We’ve invested in and spent members’ money in the areas where our members asked us to do so, which is a real achievement,” he said. “And we’ve effectively come to the end of the actions [pinpointed by] that research. Thirdly, it would be remiss of me not to say how pleased I am regarding the growth of the membership across all three tiers. We’re now in total, around 350 members, including MGAs, suppliers and insurer members.
“Our ambition is that we would like all MGAs to want to be members of the association. It’s up to us to approach them but it’s just as important that every MGA wants to be a member of the association. And it’s up to us to make sure that our proposition, our service and everything we do, remains relevant and essentially gives them no opportunity not to want to be part of our association.”
While the association is delighted that it now counts almost 190 MGAs among its members, Keating emphasised that the membership makeup of the MGAA is a tripartite offering. The team will continue to grow its insurer membership, he said, as it’s so critical for MGAs to have the right support from capacity providers – and will also focus on evolving the diversity of its supplier membership which provide such excellent products and services to the market.
The creation of multiple forums in the last two years is another achievement close to Keating’s heart. He highlighted how the introduction of both a technical forum, a claims forum and a personal lines forum had represented standout opportunities to allow all relevant stakeholders across the industry to come together to share knowledge, understand each other’s objectives and earmark opportunities to work together.
These forums showcase the technical expertise, knowledge and professionalism of the sector and offer an opportunity for the community to work more collaboratively going forward. The entire membership across the MGAA has a shared ambition to deliver excellent solutions to customers, he said, but also to deliver positive underwriting earnings to all stakeholders – and these forums provide an excellent conduit for that shared purpose.
As to what’s next on the growth agenda, he noted that the rapid rate of change that has characterised the strategy of the MGAA to date is showing no signs of slowing down.
“Over the next 12 months, we are investing in a significant upgrade on the MGAA website which will give a premium feel for our members,” he said. “It will be far more digital and user-friendly and will give more of a spotlight to our suppliers and their products and services. It needed a significant investment to get it to where the association needs it to be. Because it is our shop window essentially, and I feel it needs to clearly represent what the association, and more importantly, our members represent.
“[…] We will also go out, probably in mid-2023, to our membership again for further research. I think it’s really important that at least every two years, we go out and speak to our membership – especially as it’s growing so much – and ensure that what we’re doing continues to reflect what they actually want us to do, and that we’re investing our members’ money in the right areas for our members. And that’s both for now, but also, critically, for market developments as we go forward.”
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Keating and his team will also be actively encouraging members to achieve the CII’s Chartered Insurance Underwriting Agent designation, he said, as it’s an achievement that really signposts the professionalism of the market and its players. In addition, the MGAA has a full roster of events, conferences, and learning and development opportunities in its roster.
The association will be introducing ‘Lunch and Learn’ type events around particular subjects of interest to its membership, he said, as it has seen first-hand how smaller, more intimate events are incredibly beneficial to attendees. The MGAA will also be continuing its partnership with I Love Claims and the success of this partnership’s recent conference will see it becoming a permanent fixture in members’ calendars going forward.
“That’s because it’s so important that the MGA community, working alongside I Love Claims, ensures that it keeps a clear focus on ensuring that its claims delivery is the best it can be,” he said. “And on the events front, we’ll continue with our normal events. We had a successful capacity exchange a few weeks ago, and we’ll have our broker ‘Meet the Market’ event, and our conference in July.
“So, we’ve got an increase in events and we’ll continue to use these to reflect what our members require around any educational and informative [opportunities]. And we’ll also look to continue to grow our membership. So, it’s a real blend – we’re doing a lot of strategic things but also a lot of more of the same, providing it remains relevant to what our members require.”