Totalis’ Gillingham says NFP MGA platform will target 1-2 de novo launches a year

NFP’s Totalis platform will look to do one to two de novo launches a year, according to head of programs Tom Gillingham, who also gave a bullish outlook on the MGA segment, touched on the Aon acquisition and highlighted lessons learned from the Vesttoo saga.

Gillingham was speaking with The Insurer TV on the sidelines of last week’s Program Manager Conference and Awards, where he was honoured with the outstanding contributor prize for 2024.

“We're very happy with the portfolio today, but still looking to be aggressive on the M&A front. It looks like a pretty active deal pipeline in the marketplace right now,” Gillingham said of Totalis’ market position.

Gillingham said that Totalis has the appetite and bandwidth to do one to two de novo launches a year, while beyond MGA and program launches it will also look to add to its leadership team to “support the growth of the business overall”.

Collaboration with Aon MGA outfit

Discussing NFP’s acquisition by Aon, Gillingham described the larger firm’s MGA business as “really impressive”, noting that it is mostly written on an admitted basis and therefore complementary to Totalis, which is largely E&S.

“We absolutely expect collaboration, but not integration. Kip Kelly, who runs that business, is a great leader and has built a really impressive operation at Affinity; where his business is primarily focused on the admitted side of the world, we're predominantly E&S,” Gillingham said.

“I think it lends itself well to finding opportunities where we can support one another and he's built something tremendous. So, I'm definitely looking forward to learning from Kip and his team and figuring out ways we can be more successful together,” Gillingham said.

The executive said he’s “very bullish” on the outlook for the programs segment, saying that “the

model seems to be working well” and that its discipline has been inspiring “a lot more confidence” among capacity providers.

“There's a lot more transparency in the business now, so I don't really see any trends that would suggest it's going to start reversing,” he explained.

“Specialisation remains very much a focus of the industry overall and I think MGAs are delivering great value for all of the constituents in the transaction. So we're pretty bullish – NFP is bullish – on the space right now,” he added.

Unified brand

Totalis considers itself an aggregator platform with 18 distinct programs that are closing on $1bn in written premium, made up of individually branded MGAs that have either been built or acquired by NFP.

Gillingham said that the Totalis brand was launched to generate recognition around the scale of NFP’s MGA operations, as he called the unit “sizeable” and “eager to grow” in a segment approaching $100bn in written premium by some estimates.

“A lot of folks weren't really aware of the sort of breadth and scale of our operation. That was sort of the culmination of a couple of years of building infrastructure and resources to create a platform,” Gillingham noted.

Gillingham said that momentum within NFP’s MGA business has continued under the unified branding as it has worked to present a more unified front to carrier and reinsurance partners, as well as wholesalers the platform trades with.

“There seems to be enough space for everybody to swim. We do trade [with] very healthy relationships with wholesale brokers who are also in the MGA and underwriting space,” he said of relationships with distribution partners.

“And I think the key is being able to deliver proprietary products and great solutions for customers, which ultimately is going to be the differentiator and win the business,” he continued.

“So while we do compete with some of the same folks that are distributors of ours, we find that those are still very healthy relationships, and that the growth and opportunity is plenty large for everybody.”


Earlier this year Gillingham was appointed to a two-year term as president of the Target Markets Program Administrators Association (TMPAA) advisory board, and he highlighted record-setting attendance at its mid-year event in Tampa last month.

“It was a great event and it just sort of continues to reiterate that the association provides a lot of value [and] that people really can get value out of the meetings, the content, the presentations, the guest speakers,” he noted.

Gillingham said the attendance at the conference was somewhat surprising, given the trend of consolidation in the MGA market, as he also pointed to controls TMPAA has in place regarding who can attend the event.

“The MGA model just sort of continues to regenerate and the association remains very committed to only allowing members to participate who meet the strict criteria, whether that's an MGA or the carrier,” he commented.

“So I wouldn't say [the attendance figures are] a sign of frothiness; I would say it's a sign of a healthy market, and again, an association that's providing real value to the constituents that participate,” he added.

“The growth is absolutely welcome,” he noted.

Watch the full interview with Totalis and NFP’s Tom Gillingham to hear more about:

  • How NFP’s MGA division Totalis plans to be “aggressive” when it comes to M&A and pursue 1-2 de novo MGA launches per year
  • The plans to collaborate with Aon’s existing MGA business, which largely serves the retail market, while Totalis largely operates in the E&S space
  • How the Totalis branding has helped the platform present a “unified front” to capacity partners, reinsurers and distribution partners
  • Why the Vesttoo episode showed the “resiliency” and talent of the MGA segment and “was not a failure of the MGA model”
  • The explosion of attendance at the TMPAA annual and mid-year events