How specialist MGAs can shine and provide excellent service to brokers

Harbour-Underwriting-Managing-Director-Sharon-Brown

Authored by Harbour Underwriting

Harbour Underwriting Managing Director Sharon Brown spoke at BrokerFest on Monday 11 October 2021 on the subject of ‘How specialist MGAs can shine and provide excellent service to brokers’.

Sharon began by outlining what ATE insurance is and said: “It is a specialist product that regional brokers need to be thinking about when they consider the overall risks of a business – outside of the usual risks such as property and liability.”

Sharon explained that a number of national brokers have specialist divisions dealing with ATE insurance, but many regional brokers know little about it.

She sees one of Harbour Underwriting’s roles as educating regional brokers on the utilisation of ATE insurance and providing brokers with the tools to promote it. Harbour Underwriting is also educating law firms. As Sharon pointed out: “There are so many law firms that still don’t fully explore the opportunities of ATE insurance and how it can protect their commercial litigation clients from having to pay their opponents costs if they lose their case. The call to action for law firms will always be to contact their broker.”

Sharon said the distribution opportunity for ATE insurance for brokers is mainly commercial businesses and law firm clients. Harbour Underwriting has recently partnered with GS Group in Scotland and Prizm Solutions in the Midlands to provide ATE insurance to law firms in those areas.

“We are looking across the whole of the UK and selecting brokers who give 360-degree risk profile solutions to their clients and who work with law firms and commercial organisations,” she said.

“We’re not just providing a one-pager to brokers to say this is what we do,” she continued. “We truly partner with brokers to provide training sessions, customer-facing brochures, set up webinars, and organise mailouts to their database. We provide the marketing collateral for them to pass onto their clients and to law firms and make the broker’s life as easy as possible. We don’t expect brokers to become experts in ATE insurance overnight.”

“Brokers should be aware that ATE insurance premiums can be significant, so the commissions earned on these transactions can be considerable,” she said.

Sharon went on to discuss how Harbour Underwriting’s underwriters work with brokers and their clients to ensure that they get the whole story behind each potential case. “Of course, the relevant forms will need completing, but the ‘story’ is important. Our underwriters would have a conversation with the broker because there can be so much that is not necessarily obvious on paper. Our service to brokers is of the utmost importance to us.”

Sharon concluded by saying: “Undoubtedly, commercial litigation is on the rise, not least due to the perfect storm of Brexit and Covid. We want to work with brokers who have a 360-degree approach to risk management, and that needs to include helping clients protect themselves in pursuing or defending commercial litigation. For a broker to be involved in such an emotive side of their clients’ businesses is priceless and can be the difference between a business thriving or going bust. If brokers want to make a difference and add ATE to their arsenal, just give us a ring.”

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About Harbour Underwriting

Harbour Underwriting Limited (HUL) is one of the leading providers of commercial dispute insurance for claimants and defendants.

We provide After the Event insurance cover against the costs incurred in bringing or defending legal or arbitration proceedings in commercial disputes. We work with insurance brokers, law firms, funders and advisors to help their commercial clients mitigate the risk of litigation or arbitration. Harbour Underwriting helps brokers oversee their clients’ risk portfolios and demonstrate added value when they need it most.

We offer a range of ATE insurance products that are available at any stage of litigation, including adverse costs cover, own side disbursements cover, own side solicitor’s fees cover, anti-avoidance endorsements and deeds of indemnity to provide security for costs, appeals insurance, damages -based agreement (DBA) and conditional fee agreement (CFA) insurance.

Harbour Underwriting Limited (HUL) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm reference number 939803) and is a Managing General Agent with full delegated authorities from A-rated carriers.

HUL’s underwriting team are highly experienced litigators who apply their expertise to tailor insurance solutions to our customer's needs.

HUL's sister company, Harbour Litigation Funding, is one of the largest privately-owned litigation funders in the world.

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