Bob Kimmel the CEO of K2 insurance services came on my radar and that of most other London-based insurance folk when last year his US-based MGA group picked up the remnants of what had been the Pioneer group of MGAs to form K2 International.

K2 owns a major collection of MGAs in the US, writes over a billion dollars in premium and is highly acquisitive both of talent, new agencies and other ancillary insurance businesses

I didn’t know Bob personally and researching K2 ahead of our London meeting I suppose I came into this podcast with lots of preconceptions about what the CEO of such a fast-growing and aggressively expansive US-headquartered group would be like.

I was completely wrong.

Bob is clearly very ambitious for K2 but he is also very easygoing and charming as well as being disarming about how steep the learning curve has been for him, a former reinsurance broker, moving much closer to the end insurance customer in the decade since K2’s formation.

New MGA start-ups and acquisitions, a potential Lloyd’s syndicate in the offing and a conscious hunt for talent in specific classes – Bob’s in-tray is absolutely overflowing and in this interview he discusses all aspects of MGA management in a disarmingly open way.

I really enjoyed my time with Bob and I think you will too.

LINKS

We thank our naming sponsor AdvantageGo - enabling an enterprise view of exposure:

https://www.advantagego.com/

We also thank Claims Direct Access (CDA) and Free Partners for their support today:

https://www.claimsdirectaccess.com/
https://freepartners.com/

Today’s podcast is something a little different because instead of talking about our market from the inside we will be looking at it through the eyes of insurance professionals who access our products and services from the outside.

What do our customers really think of us and what are they looking for when they come into the international insurance and reinsurance markets looking to do business?

Michał Chmielewski Deputy Chairman (left) and Tomasz Libront President (right) have built Smartt Re into a significant independent reinsurance broker in the highly competitive and fast-growing Polish market.

Their report card on the London and International insurance markets makes for really interesting listening as well as their description of the huge opportunities as well as the significant  challenges facing the largest market in Central and Eastern Europe.

Michal and Tomasz are very open and frank about their experience and some of the observations are frankly eye-opening,

so for anyone looking to learn what makes an independent local broker in emerging markets tick and what they are really looking for in an international partner this should be required listening.

In insurance and reinsurance we hear a lot of talk about partnerships, but in truth we know that many relationships are marriages of convenience or indeed opportunistic liaisons that are not designed to last.

If I was a reinsurance buyer I would like my reinsurer to be committed to supporting me in the long term and someone who was unlikely to run away if I have had a bad year.

I’d like to be able to confide in them and I’d really value it if they were perhaps even a little boring in their consistency.

Javier San Basilio the CUO of Mapfre Re is very much the embodiment of this old school of reinsurer.

I really enjoyed spending time with someone able to give a calm and considered analysis of the state of the reinsurance market today and I think you will too.

Listen on for valuable insights and a sense of where Mapfre’s steadily increasing influence is likely to be felt in the run-up to 1.1 and beyond.

LINKS

We thank our naming sponsor AdvantageGo - enabling an enterprise view of exposure:
https://www.advantagego.com/

We also thank Claims Direct Access (CDA) for their support today:
https://www.claimsdirectaccess.com/

Jeff Radke is someone who has had senior roles in many areas of the insurance and reinsurance spectrum.

His career ranges from reinsurance broking at Guy Carpenter to running PXRE, one of the last major Bermudian specialist retro writers.

He then played a large variety of senior roles in over a decade at Argo Group, the internationally diversified specialty insurance and reinsurance group formed out of Argonaut’s takeover of PXRE in 2007.

But all those roles had one thing in common – all of them were at the very least one step removed from the end customer

In his latest venture he is applying all that experience to the world of ultra-specialised, ultra-client-focused MGAs.

It is a really interesting proposition because Jeff knows from his own experience that reinsurers and speciality insurers are keen to access portfolios of stable commercial risk to help balance their own increasingly volatile books

Meanwhile after the shake-out and instability of the last couple of years, quality MGAs are looking for really solid and committed paper providers.

Accelerant does all the things that other MGA incubators are doing including providing and sourcing growth capital, but it also uses its own paper and sources long-term third party insurance capital for its MGA members to give a complete service.

It is clear that Jeff is incredibly energised by this project and I think it comes out all the way through this podcast.

Listen on for a really interesting and fun encounter with someone who has clearly got the bit between his teeth.

LINKS

We thank our naming sponsor AdvantageGo - enabling an enterprise view of exposure:
https://www.advantagego.com/

We also thank Claims Direct Access (CDA) for their support today:
https://www.claimsdirectaccess.com/

One of the best things about this show is that it gives me the perfect excuse to meet people who I have been meaning to meet for ages.

Monica Cramer Manhem, President, International Reinsurance at SiriusPoint is one such guest. Over the last fifteen years many mutual friends have recommended I try to get an audience with her, saying that we would get on really well.

Well they were right. Monica is indeed fantastically good company and right now she has a great story to tell.

SiriusPoint is the product of the merger of two very different legacy businesses and is intent on forging a progressive identity for itself under its new banner.

It’s exciting stuff and in this podcast we go into detail on its transformational plans and the challenges that they will bring.

We also discuss the state of the market after the mid-year renewals and we hear Monica’s own reflections on her long and successful career as a woman in what was - certainly at the very beginning – very much a man’s world.

LINKS

We thank our naming sponsor AdvantageGo - enabling an enterprise view of exposure:

https://www.advantagego.com/

We also thank Claims Direct Access (CDA) and Free Partners for their support today:
https://www.claimsdirectaccess.com/

https://freepartners.com/

Today’s podcast is in two parts.

It starts off as a quick run through the state of the market through the eyes of two very senior underwriting practitioners

But then it dives right into the heart of the state of the underwriting profession itself and how the life of an underwriter is going to change in the future.

In their high-profile careers both Group Head of Portfolio Underwriting at Swiss Re Silvi Wompa Sinclair and Chief Underwriting Officer of Apollo Syndicate Management James Slaughter have been at the forefront of transforming the business of underwriting and are extremely well placed to outline a vision of the future of the profession.

The message is pretty clear. Transformation in the way all underwriters work is coming and everyone needs to get ready to change the way they do business in order to reap the benefits.

Productivity is set to rise enormously as the machines do a lot more of the grunt work, but the good news for underwriters and brokers is that the roles for the humans in the process are going to become a lot more interesting.

At the same time everyone’s career prospects are going to be boosted hugely.

Listen on for a fascinating and inspiring dive into the future of underwriting.

NOTES:

POC stands for proof of concept, a term usually used when new technology is being tested.

A TOBA is a terms of business agreement, which in our sector is the contract that governs the dealings between a broker and an underwriter.

LINKS

We thank our naming sponsor AdvantageGo - enabling an enterprise view of exposure:
https://www.advantagego.com/

When my notebook is put away and the microphones are switched off, after a couple of drinks, people in the market often lament the lack of personalities in the modern insurance and reinsurance industry.

They say that it’s just not like it used to be and that massive consolidation has pushed the individual to the sidelines within ever larger, ever more soulless corporations.

Today’s guests prove that not be true in any sense of the word.

Rod Fox (CEO) founded reinsurance broker and capital advisor TigerRisk thirteen years ago and has been carving a place in the sector and taking the big three brokers head on ever since.

Two years ago fellow reinsurance veteran Rob Bredahl joined the team as President, reuniting the pair who had worked together at Benfield in the early noughties.

When I was organising this interview I was worried that Rob might find it hard to make himself heard because Rod is such a strong character.

I needn’t have worried. Their energy and camaraderie is palpable.

They are also clearly having the time of their lives, as a well-resourced and aggressive TigerRisk looks to take full advantage of the opportunities presenting themselves in a highly fluid reinsurance and capital markets intermediary space.

In this podcast we dissect the state of the market and go into deep detail about how Tiger is planning to double or possibly triple in size in the next five years.

LINKS

We thank our naming sponsor AdvantageGo - enabling an enterprise view of exposure:
https://www.advantagego.com/
We also thank Claims Direct Access (CDA) and Free Partners for their support today:
https://www.claimsdirectaccess.com/

https://freepartners.com/

Today’s guests are the executives behind the fast-growing specialist aviation broker start-up Piiq Risk Partners.

In a very short space of time Philip Smaje CEO [picture left] and Marcel Chad President [picture right] have put Piiq on the front pages of the trade press with some eye-popping household name client wins.

In a time of seemingly permanent consolidation and the homogenisation of so much of the intermediary market, theirs is a story that I think will inspire many brokers.

People, connections specialist knowledge and expertise and an ultra-client focused approach are clearly still incredibly important.

Listen on for the secrets of their early successes and what drives their business, an honest assessment of the impending acquisition of their parent company Corant Global by Ardonagh and a frank analysis of the state of the aviation market.

Philip is the first of the two to speak.

LINKS

We thank our naming sponsor AdvantageGo - enabling an enterprise view of exposure:
https://www.advantagego.com/

We also thank Claims Direct Access (CDA) for their support today:
https://www.claimsdirectaccess.com/

Clive Washbourn is a legendary figure in the marine insurance market.

His enviable track record of profitability has made him probably the nearest thing to a celebrity within that very particular, and often very difficult to underwrite, subset of our sector.

So when the news came out that he had started his own marine MGA Navium, on Fidelis’s Pine Walk platform I made sure I put in a request for an interview.

Despite so many years covering the markets I hadn’t met Clive before but you wouldn’t tell from this interview.

Clive is the real deal.

In this episodel I found a lead underwriter completely at ease with himself and rejuvenated at the prospect of building a new business with the benefit of a successful career behind him.

He was also infectiously happy, immensely charismatic and instantly likeable.

What follows is a masterclass in entrepreneurial spirit and the art of successful underwriting.

I also think it reassuring proof that personality still has a huge amount to play in success in many corners of the insurance world.

NOTES

Clive and I couldn't remember exact dates, but the Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger aviation war loss indeed occurred 20 years ago, in July 2001.

Abbreviations: TLO = Total loss only; IV = Increased Value.

LINKS

We thank our naming sponsor AdvantageGo - enabling an enterprise view of exposure:
https://www.advantagego.com/

We also thank Claims Direct Access (CDA) and Free Partners for their support today:
https://www.claimsdirectaccess.com/
https://freepartners.com/

Today’s guest is part of a team busy building a reinsurance broker to challenge the big three almost across the board.

We’ll never see the numbers but it is highly likely that his firm has invested the most of all the challenger reinsurance brokers in the past two years.

During that time it has seen its headcount quintuple to two hundred and twenty-five and it has opened twelve new offices to be represented in thirteen locations.

Despite this incredibly fast growth Keith Harrison International CEO of Lockton Re has his feet firmly on the ground and is one of the most level-headed and straight-talking brokers I have interviewed on this podcast.

Indeed with so much uncertainty for reinsurance intermediaries over the past two years and with the daily news only prolonging the agony for many, Keith’s claim that Lockton Re is actually one of the most stable places to come to work, rings fairly true.

Listen on for more details on how Lockton Re plans to bring the fight to its larger rivals and a comprehensive diagnosis of reinsurance market conditions at the mid-year renewals.

LINKS

We thank our naming sponsor AdvantageGo - enabling an enterprise view of exposure:
https://www.advantagego.com/

We also thank Claims Direct Access (CDA) for their support today:
https://www.claimsdirectaccess.com/

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