Just as there has been a deluge of headlines about start-ups and scale-ups in the broader (re)insurance sector as investors target hard market opportunities, the world of Program Manager has seen plenty of positioning for growth by incumbents as well as new players.

Program manager

And the start of September has been no exception.

In this month’s issue of Program Manager we bring you several examples of existing players expanding platforms, broadening relationships and launching new programs.

In Europe, fast-growing Accredited is branching out, adding a local presence in Italy as it targets one of the largest MGA markets on the continent.

The Randall & Quilter-owned program fronting carrier platform has already gone past the $1bn mark measured by contracted annual premiums across its European and US operations.

And in the US it is continuing its build out with the addition of former Aon Re executive Patrick Rastiello as CEO of its newly established E&S program management business, as it looks to build momentum in the growing marketplace.

Other expansive moves in the last week include Clear Blue’s launch of a second E&S subsidiary, Highlander Specialty, and Ascot US adding former AIG executive Anthony Lyons to head up a new portfolio solutions underwriting division focusing on MGA/MGU and tech partnerships.

We also revealed plans by MGA platform Accelerant to launch a Bermuda Class 3 insurer. The start-up already has a Malta-based AM Best A- rated carrier to take risk alongside reinsurers behind its member MGAs and is expected to look to the US for expansion in the program sector.

The hybrid model – where the lines between MGAs and risk carriers are blurring – is a growing theme across the program sector as both parties look to demonstrate great alignment with their reinsurance partners and cement more stable, longer-term relationships.

An alternative approach

But arguably the most interesting story broken by our sister title The Insurer in recent days was a new entrant.

And USQRisk is not a run-of-the-mill program administrator.

Ostensibly an MGA, the start-up has been launched by a group of senior executives from the alternative risk transfer (ART) market, several of whom worked together at Allianz.

Led by Anibal Moreno the management team also includes the former head of programs for North America at Allianz Global Corporate Specialty Dogan Kaleli.

Programs is just one of three pillars in USQRisk’s strategy, which leverages the expertise of its team to bring a broad range of ART solutions to corporate clients, building (re)insurance capacity to support them.

Its holistic approach also encompasses an advisory arm as it strives to optimize risk transfer programmes for clients.

But intriguingly it will have a significant programs function – both to create new – or “sandbox” – offerings, and to potentially acquire and roll-up existing programs when the use of its technology and expertise can deliver economies of scale and cost efficiencies.

The start-up is not only targeting opportunities within the existing estimated $51bn US programs space, but it is also looking at generating new customers for programs by tapping into the distribution networks of corporate clients.

The strategy could bring incremental new business to the sector…

David Bull, North American Editor