A group of transaction liability insurance (TLI) specialists has launched Sands Point Risk, a managing general agent (MGA) that caters to clients navigating risk exposures arising from mergers and acquisitions (M&A), tax treatments, and litigation.
CEO Dennis Kearns (pictured) said the MGA’s launch comes at a turning point for M&A.
“There was a little bit of the market slowdown in 2023, but our hope is that there is a rebound,” Kearns told Insurance Business.
“Our desire is to achieve market timing to present those opportunities. We feel very strongly about the market, particularly as we see the first quarter and second quarter coming into shape.”
Kearns, who founded and operated the transaction solutions program at DUAL North America, has assembled a team of highly successful and experienced professionals, backed by Avesi Partners to better service transaction risks in the M&A market.
With a primary focus on TLI, Sands Point will provide a comprehensive range of products, including representation and warranties, tax liability, and contingent liability insurance.
The leadership team at Sands Point has extensive experience in TLI, collectively underwriting thousands of transactions involving strategic and private equity buyers and sellers across various industries. They include Patrick Darragh, executive vice president; Dan Simnowitz, executive vice president; and JoAnna Conte, chief operating officer.
Kearns boasts over 25 years of expertise in underwriting, product development, policy drafting, and claims. During his tenure, the transaction solutions program at DUAL achieved a total gross written premium exceeding $600 million.
“We’re looking to build an opportunity in the insurance space, and we had a vision for what an MGA would look like in the space that provides opportunities for financial lines and for traditional property-casualty lines,” Kearns said.
He said that “alignment” with Stamford, CT-based Avesi Partners helped seal the opportunity.
“Having them as an investment partner allowed us to bring this vision to reality because they share the same viewpoints on how we would run [an MGA]. A partner that wants to create the same business model makes our relationship very strong and gives us a lot of confidence going forward,” Kearns added. “It made us both see that this is a good opportunity and a good fit for both teams.”
Sands Point’s talent has excelled in serving small- to middle-market clients, according to Kearns, which is where the MGA’s “sweet spot” will lie.
“The key differentiator for us as a team is making sure our service component is best in class,” the CEO said. “As underwriters, we know how to service the needs of that customer base. It’s also a space that recognizes our underwriting talent and our capabilities.”
Having launched at the start of the year, Sands Point will spend the next few months building underwriting opportunities and carving its place in the market.
Kearns said the goal is “to be recognized in our space as having an offering that’s attractive to our customer base, that’s attractive to future talent and to insurance companies.”
“I think a successful year sees us having a significant offering for transactional liability, but also being identified as an emerging MGA space offering opportunities for future underwriters who share similar vision,” he told Insurance Business. “We also want to be seen as a trusted partner for insurance companies that want to consider us as an agent.”
Beyond transaction liability, Sands Point also intends to expand its platform to other specialized insurance lines.
“Transactional liability is certainly our flagship, but the goal is to build a full-service MGA,” Kearns said.
“We want to be the place where we can attract the appropriate talent and, from an underwriting perspective, the place where we can attract prospective insurer partners. We want to have an opportunity to consider other lines of insurance, to round out an offering that is devoted to property and casualty opportunities as well as financial lines.”
What are your thoughts on Sands Point Risk and the potential rebound of the M&A market this year? Please share them in the comments.