What does it take to restructure a reinsurance MGA?

There are two key factors behind success…

What does it take to restructure a reinsurance MGA?


By Mia Wallace

What does it take to restructure a re/insurance MGA?

That was one of the questions that Ian Anson (pictured) had to answer shortly after bring promoted to the role of managing director 18 months into his tenure with the Aventum-owned Rokstone.

Last year, the business was split into three broad underwriting sections, with three CUOs leading 23 different business units. As MD, he said, he works closely with Rokstone CEO Potter to support the underwriting side of the business; from transformation programs, to capacity renewals, to people management, to partnerships while also supporting the day-to-day operations of the business.

“Ultimately, the two core tenets for us as an MGA platform are talent and capacity,” he said. “If you can do a really good job of matching those two things, you’ve got the basis of a winning formula. So, that’s where I try to put a lot of focus – attracting the right talent and attracting the right capacity, and then matching the two.”

Talent in reinsurance – how to attract the best

On the question of talent, Anson noted many of those hailing from a corporate environment have found themselves being “ground down over time”, whether that’s as a result of internal cultural elements or compensation structures. There was a need to change that perception.

“For me, it’s all about recruiting the right mix of personalities,” he said. “I’m a big believer that you get out of life and work what you put into it, and that you find your form in practice. I love working with people who are passionate.”

An ownership model is a natural extension of this talent drive, he said. The MGA offers its specialist underwriters ownership of their P&L. As a result, each underwriter gets to be part of an overall winning team but they’re aligned to their own performance. Anson believes this has brought the team closer together by allowing them to be part of the same growth journey, but only responsible for their own outcomes.

What’s on the agenda for 2024?

Looking at what’s top of the agenda for the business this year, he pinpointed its emphasis on talent acquisition and the creation and retention of long-term capacity partners across multiple lines of business.

“We’ve got some intellectually interesting reinsurance propositions at the moment, where we’ve got to the critical mass and scale which means we can look not just at building a line of business and attaching capacity to it,” he said. “We’ve got a whole new plethora of opportunities opening up to us to allow us to start structuring whole account capacity deals and cross-class deals that give us even more diversification.

“That’s always key for us, no matter how good a job we do on our underwriting business – ultimately, as an MGA, you’re writing on someone else's capacity. So, there are elements you can control on the underwriting side – your strategy, controls, guidelines, talent, pricing etc. – but there are some things you can’t control. And I never want us to be in a position where one company’s change of appetite or vision can damage us.”

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