Marykate Townsend, CMGA, CAIB, CAMGA President
The commercial insurance and specialty market have been changing fast over the last few years, with significant changes still on the horizon. The hard market and the pandemic have made it more challenging for brokers to serve their customers efficiently. Carriers realize the potential for more profitability within their commercial and specialty divisions by outsourcing the underwriting to Managing General Agents (MGAs), resulting in a shift away from carriers to MGAs for more and more types of commercial and specialty insurance.
This trend is not new—the MGA sectors in the UK, USA and Australia have all seen significant growth over the past ten years, thanks to a more structured industry and the evolution of the carrier channel through outsourcing more and more of their underwriting activities to MGAs. These structural changes are also occurring right here in Canada.
MGAs are generally less known to brokers regarding their expertise than carriers. In Canada, there are about 65 MGAs who write most classes of commercial insurance. Given the growing demand for MGA capacity, the Canadian Association of Managing General Agents has developed a platform that makes it easier, faster and more efficient for brokers across Canada to trade with MGAs.
In collaboration with brokers and the MGA sector, the MGA Bridge platform will be open for all brokers across the country to register and use on September 1st.
The Bridge platform will allow a broker to discover the MGA(s) that is the right fit for their commercial and specialty customers and coordinate the submission distribution and management process to all MGAs that underwrite that type of risk.
Brokers will no longer need to search and investigate which of the 65 MGAs in Canada write what, nor waste time in sending by email applications to a number of these markets individually. Brokers will be able to see which MGA is underwriting what type of risk in real-time and eliminate the need to find who or what at the MGA is intaking applications. This will take the broker-MGA collaboration efficiency to the next level.
One submission into the Bridge platform and all the MGA markets writing that class will receive the submission and begin the quoting process. Brokers will be able to receive status updates when an MGA is reviewing or responding to a request and coordinate with multiple MGAs for an individual application. Brokers will not have to modify any of their existing systems to use this platform, with all their existing MGA options and solutions in one submission.
Since all MGAs on the Bridge Platform will be CAMGA members, brokers can be assured that these markets follow the CAMGA Code of Business Operating Standards, the MGA Code of Ethics, and that you are dealing with the Gold Standard of MGAs in Canada. Our goal is to make the MGA market the most accessible to brokers and make Bridge the easiest way for brokers to place commercial and specialty business.