Acrisure management look to next phase of growth as premiums surge to $32bn

Acrisure’s recent run of acquisitions has grown the broker consolidator’s portfolio of placed premiums to more than $32bn, president and CEO Greg Williams has revealed in an interview with The Insurer TV.

And the diversified nature of this book of business represents a “unique portfolio” that reinsurers, Lloyd’s and funds “would love to access”, according to president of global insurance Grahame Millwater.

When questioned whether Acrisure could serve as the perfect conduit for reinsurance and capital markets players looking to access insurance risk, Millwater said the intermediary was “putting the plumbing in place” to start bringing its portfolio towards MGAs.

Williams and Millwater were speaking to The Insurer TV at this year’s Rendez-Vous de Septembre in Monte Carlo, the first in-person industry gathering on the Côte d’Azur since 2019 following consecutive Covid-19-related postponements.

During that period Acrisure has embarked on a series of acquisitions, closing 110 deals in 2020 with a further 130 transactions in 2021. The broker has already completed well in excess of 100 acquisitions this year.

These deals have seen Acrisure make a major play in the MGA space, with the recent acquisitions of Volante and Appalachian Underwriters as well as the MGA and third-party administrator operations of Sunz Insurance.

“We are now placing approximately $32bn of premium. Most of that is small middle market business, leaning towards small,” said Williams, who co-founded the business in 2005.

“We were looking at building some of that capability and found we can best get what we want by aligning and partnering with some of the best MGAs in the industry,” said Williams.

“We’ve done that with the view of underwriting more of our premium, again, not for taking risks, but for understanding placement opportunities. That’s why we did what we did.”

A recent example of this strategy has been Acrisure Re’s involvement in the launch of Cajun Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange – first revealed by this publication – part of a move to strategically align with six to eight US carriers and MGAs from the Carolinas to Texas.

Reinsurance growth ambitions

Millwater joined Acrisure through its 2018 acquisition of London-based, North American-focused reinsurance broker Beach & Associates, and the broker remains focused on reinsurance growth, having announced plans for new operation in Hong Kong in May this year.

“Even before we became Acrisure Re, we specialised a lot in MGA capacity. It was not uniquely reinsurance, it was insurance and reinsurance, and that continues. We continue to act for third parties. But we are also very much acting on behalf of the MGAs we’re acquiring,” Millwater said.

“Again, it’s a blend, so reinsurance is critical, because at the end of the day reinsurance is about underwriting a portfolio of risk. And MGA underwriting capital is supporting a portfolio of risk. But it’s insurance, it’s reinsurance, it’s even funds. We’re looking at a blend of underwriting capital and how we bring those most effectively to the portfolio, both those that we own and also a lot of third-party clients as well,” he added.

Prior to its acquisition, Beach already had offices in New York, Bermuda, London and Toronto. Europe has since become more of a focus, including a mix of retail business, direct and facultative and reinsurance broking.

“We’ve expanded in the US, but London and Europe remain very important to us,” said Millwater. “We’ve grown rapidly in London; we’ve probably got about 250 people based in London now. But we’re also growing in Europe, largely on the retail side, but not uniquely on the retail side. We have an Italian reinsurance operation now, which is going extremely well. We’ve got a European facultative operation, which is also going extremely well.”

Watch the full interview with Acrisure’s Grahame Millwater and Greg Williams, speaking to The Insurer TV live from our pop-up studio in Monte Carlo’s glamorous Hôtel de Paris. Listen to them discuss:

  • Weathering current macro headwinds
  • Acrisure’s MGA ambitions
  • European expansion at Acrisure Re