MGAA Conversations: Mark McIlquham on the power of broker networks

24th June 2024

In the fifth episode of MGAA Conversations, Mike Keating sat down with Mark McIlquham, President of Acrisure UK Retail to discuss the firm’s global broking operations, its acquisition of the rebranded Eleven Network, and how the UK insurance network space is driving innovation and growth across the industry.

Acrisure is now the sixth biggest broker in the world, controlling approximately $30 billion of premium across 22 countries. The firm’s growth has been driven by its robust M&A strategy, which has seen it complete around 1,000 broker acquisitions since its inception.

As part of its growth strategy in the UK, Acrisure recently entered the UK insurance network space through its acquisition of the newly-rebranded Eleven Network (formerly TEn Network), an area of the industry which mark highlighted as vital in supporting the growth and evolution of the broking community.

The power UK networks

Mark explained that those wishing to set up a new, FCA-regulated broker, face extremely high barriers to entry, which include significant start up costs and a huge amount of regulatory risk, particularly for sole traders and small businesses.

He pointed out that for many, joining a network is an ideal route to market that can often provide a gateway for new business to trade “almost instantly”. He added that this is, in the main, due to the fact that members only need to be approved as an Appointed Representative (AR), rather than obtaining full FCA authorisation, which can often be a slow process.

In regards to Acrisure’s acquisition of Eleven Network, Mark went on to mention that it felt like a natural fit given that Acrisure was already operating similarly to a network, acquiring businesses and then offering central services to help them grow and develop. Mark also noted that he felt in some cases there was a lack of transparency with existing network models, and so wanted to create something simple, more transparent and easy for people to join.

Mark also explained that one of the other beneficial aspects of the network model is that, generally, the risks that are placed through them are relatively small and thus perfect for the appetite of MGAs. He added that there’s a “real opportunity” for small brokers that are part of a network and unhappy with the service they receive from their composite insurers to switch to MGAs that are already part of the same network. When asked about what he saw as the main drivers in attracting brokers to networks, Mark surmised that whilst many are attracted by support around compliance, they also like the idea of being part of a wider community, whilst also benefitting from continued investment in technology that will help them

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  • Author : Jess Norman
  • 24th June 2024