Gallagher’s UK MGA arm Pen Underwriting is targeting £1bn ($1.25bn) in gross written premium as part of a bold new five-year strategy of accelerated growth on the underwriting platform.

Nick Wright and Tony Downey – Pen

The target forms part of a long-term strategy overhaul launched by newly-appointed CEO Tom Downey who has set out a vision for the business against the backdrop of a maturing MGA sector.

Launched in 2015, Pen has grown into a £600mn GWP underwriting and distribution platform which has integrated 14 businesses, transformed its operational capabilities and increased its profit margin.

“Our vision is to become a £1bn GWP underwriting and distribution business. This is our new ‘North Star’. Clear, inspiring and intentionally ambitious,” Downey said.

The move comes as the Gallagher-owned MGA marks its first five years trading as a unified business, after the broker brought together its disparate UK MGAs under the Pen brand.

“Our scale, reputation and capabilities now draw more comparisons to a UK ‘top 20’ insurance company than to any MGA peer,” Downey added.

The MGA platform now plans to roll out more niche practices, more teams and more technology-driven efficiencies.

The business has appointed Nick Wright to the newly created role of chief business development officer subject to regulatory approval, to lead the next stage of growth.

Wright will assume executive level responsibility for business development across Pen’s portfolio while focusing on three core strategic elements: mergers & acquisitions, the hiring of talent and expertise in new niche sectors or product areas, and investing in innovation to underpin the expansion of Pen’s e-trade capabilities.

Downey described Wright’s appointment as “fundamental” to the execution of Pen’s strategy, noting that the former commercial lines managing director is entrepreneurial, well-known and respected across the market.

“Nick knows what good looks like; he’s spent his career in underwriting, managing P&Ls and delivering appropriate returns for all parties. He’s built and created specialist teams; and he’s spent the last five years leading one of Pen’s largest divisions,” Downey said.

“He will bring the energy, drive and motivation needed to deliver on our ambition of geared up growth and a step-change in Pen’s presence,” he continued.

Wright commented: “Having built a business with strong foundations, we can now scale up our ambitions, become more outwardly facing and hone in on investment opportunities to basically ‘make the boat go faster’ – or build a bigger boat.”