BMS aims to “outmuscle opposition” to meet ambitious growth targets following Eurazeo buy-in

BMS CEO Nick Cook says the group’s reinsurance arm is now ready for the next stage of growth.

BMS Re has seen major expansion over the past four years with both revenues and Ebitda growing threefold under the leadership of Pete Chandler, who is now transitioning to a vice chair role.

In an interview with The Insurer TV, Cook was clear that the reinsurance business is now “ready for the next stage of growth”.

“If I think of where BMS Re was three to four years ago, it was a third of the size it is today. So that shows the huge momentum that was built,” he said.

Cook acknowledged reinsurance broking is a “scale game”, and highlighted the need to "outmuscle the opposition" if BMS Re is to continue growing.

“We very much want to build out a global reinsurance platform, similar to any of the large reinsurance brokers,” he said. “We want to be a global reinsurance broker with one point of entry.”

Recent developments include the launch of a Bermuda operation, as well as a move into the program space.

“Bermuda is a fairly recent play for us, where we've launched a reinsurance operation hot on the heels of a wholesale operation,” he said.

“We've built out an MGA reinsurance practice, which is growing fantastically well, recently rebranded as ProLink, and has gone really well in only its first year of launch.”

He said BMS would be open to acquiring companies in the reinsurance space but acknowledged that the landscape “looked fairly bleak”.

The continued growth of BMS Re is seen by Cook as one of the key drivers as the broking group looks to scale from a £2bn ($2.56bn) to a £4bn company.

He also said that “certain things need to change” if the group is to meet the returns it promised to deliver at the time of Eurazeo’s buy-in last year. But at the same time, he said 2023 was a banner year for the firm overall.

“We saw top-line growth north of 20 percent and bottom-line growth north of 30 percent. Against any metric and in any market, those are very, very strong numbers. And we broke through £300mn in revenue for the first time in the company's history.

“We're delighted to invite 500 new colleagues to the business through acquisition. We're in 17 countries around the world now.”

Cook was joined in the interview by former PartnerRe president and CEO Emmanuel Clarke, who joined BMS as chairman at the completion of the Eurazeo deal last September.

Clarke highlighted the opportunity presented by the specialty broking space.

“It's a growing space, because risks continue to become more complex. It is also becoming less commoditised, and requires expertise and advisory.

“We're very focused on where we play and where we actually make a difference,” he continued. “The feedback we're getting from our clients is that we're delivering a superior value proposition, we are independent and we are very close to our clients, who get a lot of attention from the C-suite.

“Our clients get quick, good solutions by a team that is highly dedicated and equipped with best-in-class products. That’s where we succeed, and where we want to continue to grow.”

Watch part one of The Insurer’s TV interview with BMS Group’s CEO Nick Cook and chairman Emmanuel Clarke to hear more about how the group is repositioning its reinsurance unit for growth, key milestones from 2023, and the leadership’s ambition to attract more talent.

Part two of the interview will be published on Thursday 8 February, featuring discussion of M&A prospects, the overall health of the London market, and what is next for BMS on the international stage.