Former Arch and Munich Re executive John Willemsen has joined expansive Accelerant Holdings as the MGA-focused start-up works towards the launch of a US platform that is expected to include the establishment of its own risk-bearing carriers, The Insurer understands.

John Willemsen – Accelerant

  • Accelerant has typically sought to retain up to 20% of business written by MGA partners
  • Rest of business ceded to panels of reinsurers
  • Willemsen headed programs at Arch and spent 11 years at Munich Re in the MGA/programs space
  • US carrier platform would add to AM Best A- rated Malta insurer and mooted Bermuda carrier
  • Accelerant’s backer Altamont thought to have ambitions to build out platform in US

Willemsen is the former head of programs and chief business development officer at Arch and has also spent more than a decade at Munich Re America focusing on the programs and MGA space.

He has joined Accelerant Holdings as head of distribution as the London-based company led by Jeff Radke looks to build out a US program administrator and MGA platform that will also include carrier subsidiaries, in line with its strategy in Europe.

Sources said the company, which is backed by private equity firm Altamont Capital Partners, is likely to seek to establish rated risk-bearing insurer subsidiaries, potentially in both the E&S and admitted segments.

As revealed by this publication last week, Accelerant is also in the process of creating a Bermuda insurance company that will add to the Malta-based carrier it already has in place as it continues its strategy of retaining up to 20 percent of business written by the MGA members on its platform.

According to sources, the company is in the regulatory approval process with the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) to establish a Class 3 carrier on the island.

This publication reported earlier this year that the firm was considering the formation of a Bermuda-based internal reinsurer to assist with centralising capital within the group.

It is not known whether the move to launch a Class 3 insurer is also aimed at participating on the MGA business alongside external reinsurers, and whether it will seek an AM Best rating.

Accelerant was launched at the start of last year to provide capacity to a portfolio of member MGAs in the UK and Europe that largely target the SME market.

According to marketing material on Accelerant’s website, its US private equity backer Altamont has invested over $100mn in the MGA platform and is able to provide additional funding as required.

Its strategy sees it invest in its MGA partners and provide management services as well as capacity to retain up to 20 percent of business they write.

In March this year it secured an A- AM Best rating for its own Malta-based insurance company.

Swiss Re has been acting as Accelerant’s primary reinsurance partner for P&C business written by its member MGAs in the UK and Europe, alongside a panel of A rated reinsurers.

Stable capacity provider

Accelerant says it is able to enter into five-year capacity arrangements with MGAs, takes a portfolio approach to support all business underwritten by a member, and does not compete with members or their brokers through other distribution channels.

In turn it seeks to work with MGA partners that have an established track record of underwriting profitability, a trusted management team, an “excellent base” of supporting brokers and agents, a focus on smaller commercial clients, and a like-minded approach to doing business.

Altamont has previously shown ambition in the US fronting space, with a deal agreed to buy US carrier Topa Insurance Group earlier this year, only for it to be called off in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The private equity firm is also an investor in US MGA platform Embark General. Earlier this year it hired Joe Zuk – who has spent his career working at MGAs, in reinsurance underwriting and at brokers – as an operating partner focused on its insurance investments.