Based in London, underwriting firm K2 International has made some big steps in the two years since it was established by its parent US company, K2 Insurance Services LLC.
Throughout recent months, beginning in 2021 and going into this year, the firm has made several significant personnel hires; attracted new carriers; and built a robust infrastructure as the basis from which to expand their business.
Most recently, just before the end of 2021, K2 International announced that it had renewed its underwriting facilities for 2022 and that it has ambitions to continue its growth
Recently, Reinsurance News sat down with Richard Coello and David Carson, who run K2 International on a day-to-day basis, alongside a leadership committee, reporting directly to Bob Kimmel, CEO.
Coello begins by explaining the K2 proposition.
“We are the ‘underwriter’s MGA’,” he says. “We’re a home for specialist underwriters who wish to be rewarded for building their own business in their particular sector, whilst maintaining outstanding underwriting results for their capacity providers. There are many MGAs that sell policies, but far fewer that do so whilst delivering strong, durable results for their carriers.”
The company, says Carson, offers several things that underwriters may struggle to see replicated elsewhere. And, coming two years and counting into a pandemic that has upended most of normal working life, some of the things he says the firm has do sound attractive.
“In addition to market-leading analytics and data for our capacity providers,” he says, “and the ability for underwriting teams to build their business, we are proud to have built a fully flexible work culture, where employees can decide how, when and where they work.”
What’s more – Coello and Carson tout the depth and breadth of talent within their office.
“Our service company is staffed with experts in the fields of accounting, IT, operations, HR, exposure management, compliance and beyond,” they say. “The model is set up to ‘plug and play’, allowing underwriters to get on with what they are good at: building their business whilst our infrastructure allows them to thrive.”
The idea of a more flexible, dynamic workspace may be attractive, but Coello and Carson believe that the current way the industry works is not beneficial to underwriters, creating a gap in the market that K2 seeks to fill.
“As market pricing increases,” says Coello, “insurance companies should be making good profits, but the rewards don’t always trickle down to those who created them. There will be many underwriters who aren’t adequately rewarded despite delivering excellent results. We aspire to creating a more rewarding experience for both our underwriters and our carriers.”
It is, he says, “absolutely the right time” for someone to start their own MGA business.
He continues, “With the market opening up after years of restricted capacity, insurance companies will be looking for distribution to substantial books of business, which is something MGAs are well placed to deliver.”
Right now, the team at K2 say that they are focused on business (re) insurance lines in the UK and Europe but are also happy to consider other business that doesn’t conflict with its financial institutions, property D&F, and property cat lines.
“We are part of the K2 Insurance Services business,” says Carson. “That’s a $1.3bn+ (premium) US group with access to dozens of capacity providers and infrastructure all over the USA.
“MGAs in the UK and Europe who have an interest in US markets in particular, will find contacts in K2 willing and able to help them grow their distribution into the US.”