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Spotlight on MGAA Annual Conference with CEO, Michael Keating…

28th June 2023

Spotlight on MGAA Annual Conference with CEO, Michael Keating…

With the biggest event in the MGAA calendar only a week away, and REG being the official 2023 App Sponsor, we sat down with Michael Keating, CEO of the Managing General Agent’s Association (MGAA) to discuss all things MGAA and how the Association is evolving the insurance landscape and shaping the market for its members…

"Community in Action" MGAA 2023 conference banner

The MGAA Annual Conference is the largest event in MGA’s calendars, with this year promising to be even bigger and better than ever. Over 100 exhibitors are set to showcase their solutions to delegates, alongside the much-anticipated conference programme of expert panels and keynote speaker events. On 6th July, members, suppliers, partners, and market professionals will be flocking to Old Billingsgate to what promises to be an insightful, interactive and educational day.

Michael coined the event a “celebration”, with the significance of the event being far reaching. “Our theme this year is community in action, we are bringing together the MGA community in one place, for one day only. Our MGAs, our suppliers, our insurer members and other invited guests which include brokers and people from regulatory bodies and fellow associations,” he declared.

The conference is an “opportunity for suppliers to showcase their fantastic products and services in the exhibition centre. We have an excellent array of keynote speakers and unbelievable guest speakers and content during the day, which will address a lot of the challenges members are facing today,” stated Michael.

Image of Micheal Keating

In a nutshell, Michael detailed the three main goals of the conference – “networking and bringing the community together, sharing and providing timely and relevant content and exhibitor showcasing of products and services.”

“I’m confident that my team in particular will put on a fantastic day… and I would hope that people have fun on the day!” he expressed.

The move to Billingsgate
THE MOVE TO BILLINGSGATE

The move to Billingsgate marks the MGAA’s impressive growth over the last few years, with a portfolio of over 100 members and counting. It is a testament to their commitment to grow their community and provide value to the ever-increasing pool of members from all different segments of the insurance sphere. Michael described the move as a “result of our success” but also as a response to feedback from delegates the year prior. 

Old Billingsgate expands the capacity for exhibitors and also allows a wider range of members to showcase their solutions comfortably. Michael explained the new venue will “ensure the room is comfortable and has the right atmosphere.”

Panel discussions
PANEL DISCUSSIONS

Referencing different panels set to take place this year, he revealed an array of insightful talks and keynote speaker events throughout the day. 

Disclosing the main discussions, he shared; “We have one around how do we avoid drifting into a soft market which obviously would affect all people in the community and a main panel based around – with economic headwinds increasing fraud, how do we as a community still continue to treat customers fairly?”

With the continuous rise of the cost-of-living pressures, Michael reiterated the important obligation the market holds to do right by consumers; “Obviously there’s pressure on all households and all customers on bills and that’s why fraud is increasing. But as an industry, we have a moral obligation to continue to treat customers fairly, which can be challenging with those factors going on around us. So, the content is very, very important.”

You should never lose sight in my view of ensuring that the content of the day reflects what members of the community want - Micheal Keating, MGAA

Various breakout sessions will also occur during the day, with an important session from the MGAA Next Gen, who represent the future of the MGA community.

New for this year will also be an all exclusive broker panel, “who effectively will be discussing, the merits, the opportunities, why they enjoy working with MGA’s, but most importantly also some of the challenges they have in working with MGA’s,” shared Michael.

With the MGAA membership being “90% based around dealing with brokers”, Michael promised it will be “a fantastic session where MGA members can validate that what they’re doing is right for their broker distribution, but also understand where perhaps they may need to tweak their models both now and in the future to meet what the broker community are going to be requiring from MGAs going forward.”

The biggest challenges affecting the insurance market according to Micheal Keating
MARKET CHALLENGES

We asked Michael what he thought were the biggest challenges currently affecting the market. 

1. CLAIMS INFLATION

Michael echoed much of the industry’s concerns, stating; “claims inflation is a big challenge and that’s what one of our panels is looking to touch upon. We’re at double digits against the backdrop where people’s spending power is actually being diluted.”

With the panel consisting of speakers from the claims and fraud industry and MGA and broker markets, he emphasised the inclusive stakeholder representation will be profound in tackling the issue, as “each of those stakeholders will have a different view and a different commentary on economic headwinds, claims inflation and the increasing fraud detected; especially from the brokers side who actually deal with the end customer.”

2. ENSURING MGAS ARE DELIVERING FOR THEIR CAPACITY PROVIDERS

From an MGA perspective, Michael believes the biggest concern is ensuring MGAs are delivering for their capacity providers. “[It is] absolutely paramount because they cannot operate as a business without support from their capital providers. So, that’s something again, when we look at our panel around soft market, that’s going to be a very interesting debate. Because hopefully the soft market doesn’t materialise, but if it does, that puts pressure on capital returns because rates become at a minimum static or actually go negative,” he said.

Providing assurance on the MGAA’s stance, he continued; “So, those are areas which never go away. But we, as an association, along with support from our members, always look to try and find a way to navigate the best way through that to deliver for our members and customers.” 

3. REGULATORY BURDEN

Thirdly, Michael commented on the increasing regulatory burden on the market. Signifying this as a major concern amongst the sector, following BIBA’s recent revelation that regulatory costs for brokers have risen by 40% since 2019, Michael assured Matt Brewer’s session will help the MGA community navigate the regulatory landscape. 

Matt, Director of General Insurance at the FCA, will be “[taking] questions in terms of whether the pendulum has swung too far from a regulatory perspective, and whether there needs to be some adjustment,” he affirmed. 

“He’s very articulate and he’s also very open and transparent in terms of answering questions. So, I’m sure that will be a very popular and interesting session. And I think that’s why the conference is so important because you can get everyone together to talk about these challenges,” continued Michael.

MGAA's Year-Round Initiatives: Events, Education, and Advocacy
MGAA INITIATIVES

The MGAA also host an array of events and initiatives throughout the year to support their overall mission and objectives. As a not-for-profit organisation, the MGAA, and its board of directors and specialist committees focus 100% on shaping the future of delegated underwriting in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Michael disclosed how the initiatives the MGAA provide throughout the year can be categorised into 3 pillars – programme of events, knowledge and education and voice for members. These are “available to all MGAA members as part of their membership proposition.”

Commenting on the events programme Michael stated; “The conference is one event in a program during the year. So, we have our capacity exchange, Meet the Market, an event with I Love Claims – which is the second time we’ve done that later on in September, and we do smaller type events as well. So, that’s a really important part of what we do.”

The knowledge and education segment is something Michael is “very passionate about” which includes insights into personal lines and both underwriting and claims. The latter focusing on “narrowing the gap from a technical underwriting and claims perspective between all stakeholders, which is extremely popular both for what I would say mature people in the industry, but also those starting out new in the industry.”

“We also have a whole host of market briefings from our products and suppliers. From an educational piece, we have our connect to Lloyd’s and we have our compliance insight,” he continued.

MGAA Next Gen banner

 “We’ve also recently embedded D&I training into our membership proposition, which again is topical and very important. So, we are really relentless and forensic in ensuring that our proposition to our members is relevant to what they need in their business and that’s something we never lose sight of.”

The Next Gen recent mentorship scheme matches mentors to mentees to support and shape the next generation of insurance professionals within the market through coaching and career development.

Finally, being a voice for MGAA members is paramount in powering the narrative for the community. Michael vouched for the MGAA’s pledges to “act as a voice for our members with regulatory bodies.”

Photo taken at the MGAA conference
MGAA AWARDS

The MGAA Awards will also be announced at the conference, which Michael himself will be presenting. Expressing his excitement, he commented; “I enjoy doing the awards bit. It’s great to celebrate at the end of the day. We had a very strong response and submissions this year across the categories and that’s quite a fun part of the day before we retire and have a light refreshment.” 

When asked what he was looking forward to the most Michael stated; “Meeting existing and new members, exchanging views on the market and getting feedback on how we are doing as an Association, it’s enjoying the panel sessions, the keynote speeches, the breakout groups. I tend to find that the whole day goes far too quick because the energy in the room has always been fantastic. I enjoy it from start to finish, it’s a fantastic, fantastic occasion and I look forward to seeing everybody there.”

Micheal Keating's view on the future of the MGAA
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE...

Looking to the future of these conferences and the MGAA as a whole, we asked Michael what was in store for the association moving forwards.

“The MGAA is always guided by what our members want. We will continue to listen to our members as to what other events they may require in terms of supporting their business,” he said, adding; “please can all members who have yet to complete the [membership research] survey take time to respond.”

To conclude, the future of the MGAA and the market looks exciting, with the conference set to be momentous in driving change and value amongst the insurance community. If you haven’t registered already, make sure you don’t miss out on what promises to be a fantastic day of networking, panel sessions, market briefings, exhibitor showcases and in Michael’s own words “fun”! We would also like to wish every entrant to the MGAA Awards the best of luck.

REG are proud to be the official MGAA Annual Conference App Sponsor for 2023 and look forward to seeing everyone on the day! Come and find us at stand 30…

This article was published by:

Article author:

Zoë Parsons

Zoë Parsons is the Marketing Manager at REG Technologies. With a passion for creativity, she is dedicated to driving the success of REG’s digital presence through innovative strategies and a keen advocate for diversity and inclusion.

020 3946 2880

info@reg.uk.com

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