In a “normal” year it’d be about this time we’d be finalizing our schedules, putting the slacks and sports jackets into the cleaners and prepping up for Target Markets.

Program manager

This is not a “normal” year of course, and next week the 2020 TMPAA Summit Week goes virtual, as most of the usual roster of conference season events have.

They have a great program though, which we’ll be following closely.

Despite the absence of in-person interaction, many other aspects of the program sector are functioning in “business as usual” mode.

And the strong news flow featured in the latest issue of Program Manager supports the theory that the space is burgeoning, with many seeing strong growth opportunities outside of areas directly impacted by the Covid-19 economic fallout.

The potential in the sector has prompted reinsurance broking giant Guy Carpenter to launch a new business unit dedicated to providing services to carriers and MGAs operating in the program market.

The unit, GC Access, is led by Michael Jameson, well known in the sector as the previous head of the firm’s program division.

The new unit will target new program opportunities and help the broker’s clients access and take advantage of them in a marketplace that has expanded rapidly in recent years.

Those opportunities are demonstrated in several other news developments we report on this month.

Strong demand for broader capabilities prompted Fortegra to add an E&S platform to its program operations as it looks to selectively target growth in the hardening market.

There are several new or rebooted programs emerging too, including a significant deal as Attune secured Accreditedpaper with a panel of reinsurers led by TransRe for its expanded BOP offering.

Growth in program management business Accredited was a strong driver of operating earnings climbing 30 percent in the first half of 2020 for parent Randall & Quilter.

We also reveal in this month’s issue that Risk Theory has secured ProSight capacity for Carbon Underwriters, including its new program targeting downstream energy contractors.

In a major news development earlier this month we revealed that Markel will selectively participate on programs written by its subsidiary State National, in a move that represents an evolution for the leading fronting provider in the sector.

As we have reported on multiple occasions in this publication, the fronting model has been shifting over the last few years as a flurry of new entrants offer a range of options to MGAs and reinsurers, particularly around alignment of interests in relation to risk sharing.

The move by Markel will allow State National to selectively meet those requirements of reinsurers on specific deals.

Our sister title The Insurer also revealed that Accelerant is working on a new US program platform after hiring John Willemsen, formerly of Arch. The program is expected to be a risk-bearing entity rather than a pure front as Accelerant looks to bring capacity to its MGA members.

And in our Program Manager interview this month we talk to John Tatum, head of US programs at Axis, about the carrier’s strategy in the sector that is centered on long-term relationships.

David Bull, North American Editor