Bohan and Speckman: Property MGA deals getting easier to place while casualty is a “mixed bag”

BMS Re’s John Speckman and Desmond Bohan have said that property capacity is easier to come by for MGAs, but that casualty remains “a mixed bag”.

Speckman and Bohan – who co-head the firm’s MGA-focused ProLink Solutions unit – spoke with The Insurer TV on the sidelines of last week’s Target Markets Mid-Year Meeting held in Tampa, Florida.

We've definitely seen a shift in the property world,” Bohan said.

“There's more capacity coming to the table on the property side, both on the reinsurance and the carrier side of things. I wouldn't say it's gotten easier, but there's more options available and that's allowing for the growth and the expansion of a lot of the property portfolios,” he added.

Bohan referred to the casualty segment as “a mixed bag”.

“There's still a massive appetite for GL business, for workers' comp business. Auto is one of those areas that's struggling a little bit and that's because of some adverse development in prior years, both [from claims] frequency and severity,” he explained.

“So, I think that's where a little bit of the struggle is right now, but deals are still getting done,” he noted.

Speckman echoed those comments, saying that because the auto market is “a very tough place to get a deal done”, MGAs and brokers need to have strong data.

They have to have data, they have to have a specialty. You can't just be a generalist, and you have to have the analytical tools. You have to have technology that supports you and, even then, they're still difficult to place,” Speckman explained.

MGAs of “all shapes and sizes”

Bohan said BMS Re works with MGAs of “all shapes and sizes”, and that success on deals with the aggregator platforms tends to lead to further business with those companies.

“We're having a lot of really phenomenal successes working with the MGA platforms, the ones that have multiple subsidiaries, multiple programmes, that are attracting a lot of underwriting talent from the carrier… side,” Bohan explained.

“By partnering up with them, we're able to think strategically and work across portfolios and that, I think, has been really effective and been really well received by the reinsurance market,” he added.

Speckman also commented on working with the big MGA platforms.

“It helps when you tell them the story about those platforms, over time, and get to learn them when they're entering new lines of business, new classes of business, new geographies – you have a rapport with them,” he explained.

“So, you build that over time and, then, when they decide they're going to enter a new segment of the market, you already have that rapport with the reinsurers, with the carriers. So, it helps lend to the success of launching those programs.”

Speckman said that the launch of ProLink Solutions received a “great outpouring” of support from across the market and that the unit’s headcount has grown from nine to 23.

Bohan also said that “programme business has always been a core tenet of BMS Re in the United States, and absolutely continues to be so”.

Leveraging granular data

Bohan said that BMS has “great success” by leveraging “very granular data” in an effort to establish “apples-to-apples comparison[s]”.

Where we have great success is by the ability to be very granular in the data to really try to find an apples-to-apples comparison.

“As far as tools go, our analytics team, they can basically adjust and help with any client. We have actuaries that support workers' comp. We have actuaries that support GL,” Speckman said.

“We have actuaries that are specific to property business. So, we'd like to think that we have a catered solution for all of those different programs,” he argued.

BMS Re had in the region of 25 colleagues at the Target Markets mid-year event.

Bohan said the team from the firm wants to expand relationships, helping clients and trading partners to think strategically and grow their portfolios.

“We're always out looking for new relationships to build off of, both on the MGA side, and the carrier side, and on the reinsurer side, too. So, there's a lot of different things we're trying to accomplish here,” he commented.

“It's really a great forum for all of that and, as this conference continues to grow, we're really glad to be a major part of it,” he added.

Watch the full interview with BMS Re’s Desmond Bohan and John Speckman to hear more about:

  • BMS Re’s dedication to MGA business through its ProLink Solutions division
  • How property market conditions are easing for MGAs, while casualty remains “a mixed bag”
  • How start-ups need strong data and a specialist’s proposition to gain traction
  • BMS Re’s work on behalf of big MGA aggregator platforms