Whilst some in the (re)insurance industry are still reeling from the shock of COVID-19, start-up specialist (re)insurance broker McGill and Partners says a focus on technology and creativity has allowed it to adapt well to the pandemic.
This is the view of Paul Summers, Head of Global Facultative Reinsurance, who in a recent interview with Reinsurance News, highlighted the formula behind McGill and Partners’ successful first year.
“Despite the unprecedented circumstances we have all found ourselves in, our business activity, both facultatively and across the firm in general, has been exceptional. As a business we have now onboarded over 190 clients across 35 countries and we are handling ‘run rate’ premiums of $760m,” Summers noted.
“The insurance market, including both clients and carrier partners, are genuinely excited about working with McGill and Partners. We offer something completely different and we are totally focused and committed to our partners. We are not trying to be all things to all people but work strategically with like-minded firms to help them deliver on their objectives,” he continued.
With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Summers has invested his career learning the nuances of international markets.
He previously held the role of Head of International Facultative Reinsurance at Guy Carpenter, and prior to that he was Head of Global Facultative Reinsurance at Aon.
At his new firm he highlighted the significance of technology and the role it played throughout lockdown.
“As a new business we invested significantly in technology right from the start which meant that when lockdown was announced in March 2020, it was a very smooth transition to remote working and it was business as usual from day one,” said Summers.
Although McGill and Partners has managed throughout the pandemic, Summers went on to explain some of the difficulties it has brought: “Personally, one of the main challenges has been the inability to travel.
“While we have been fortunate to engage with clients across all regions of the world despite the lockdown, there is nothing like meeting up in person. However, from a trading perspective the vast majority of the market has transitioned to remote working very effectively.
“Whilst not physically being together does have some drawbacks, overall the experience has been very positive and will most certainly drive change in our industry as we look to the future.”
The current market hardening is anticipated to continue through the upcoming January renewals and into 2021, and combined with an expectation of heightened demand for coverage, it should present brokers such as McGill and Partners with an opportunity.
Summers continued: “There is a significant opportunity for McGill and Partners, and it will be our creativity and daring to do things differently that will help us meet the current challenging environment.
“We are constantly challenging ourselves to look at things from a different or new perspective which allows us to deliver products and solutions that will uniquely meet our clients’ needs.”
When pressed further about the January renewals, Summers explained: “Momentum and general discipline is being maintained around price expectation but there really isn’t a one size fits all answer with all lines reacting to varying extents.
“We are now seeing new capital enter the market in time for 1/1 particularly in the Retro space but not yet meaningful enough to impact the macro environment. The next couple of weeks will provide the barometer as to where the pricing delta will be.”
The broker, which launched last year, is partnered with leading global private equity firm Warburg Pincus and teamed with executives such as Steve McGill, former Group President of Aon, Oliver Corbett, Hyperion’s former Chief Financial Officer and former Aon Risk Solutions’ Chief Innovation Officer Stephen Cross.
McGill and Partners’ non-exec directors also include former President and Deputy CEO of Willis Tower Watson (WTW), Dominic Casserley, and Tim Wright, also previously of WTW.