Travelers and Frontier Global Underwriting: Reinventing MGA partnerships
Complementary expertise and strategic alignment are key
When Sophie Fraser and Joel Pridmore were running various financial lines insurance platforms at Munich Re Syndicate, they often considered combining their expertise to form a managing general agent (MGA). But the timing never seemed just right.
“We’re disciplined underwriters and we didn’t want to come into the market and just compete on price or write the same business as our capacity providers,” Fraser said. “If we were going to enter the market, we wanted to form a partnership that provided real value to everyone involved.”
That meant seeking out a partner who would complement their skillset and knowledge – not replicate it.
“The fundamental tenet of what we wanted to do was to collaborate with a strong, established brand and offer local expertise and territorial distribution to our carrier partner, who perhaps wasn’t focused in the areas where we had that specialist expertise,” Pridmore said.
The collaborative mindset is also a key part of what Travelers seeks from the MGA partnerships it forms.
“We value MGA partnerships where they serve as an extension of our business and in areas where we don’t currently have expertise,” said Shanda Davis, Directors & Officers Product Manager for Bond & Specialty insurance at Travelers. “We never want to cannibalise on what we’re already doing.”
Frontier Global Underwriting was formed in 2020 – an MGA combining Fraser’s experience in emerging markets and Pridmore’s experience in Australia/the Pacific territories. Soon after, Frontier began its partnership with Travelers as their single capacity provider, and it’s a partnership that has provided a host of mutual benefits ever since.
Working as an MGA through the Lloyd’s market, Frontier operates as an extension of Travelers, writing Investment Managers Insurance and Directors & Officers commercial in Australia and other Pacific territories, as well as Bankers Blanket Bond in a range of emerging markets that Travelers wouldn’t otherwise enter.
In turn, Travelers (not a third-party administrator) provides all claims handling for Frontier, as well as serving as a conduit for product knowledge from the US and Canada that Frontier wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. Frontier and Travelers collaborate on wordings and training, exchanging ideas and data on a regular basis.
While Travelers has a strong brand presence and distribution in the US and UK, the Frontier partnership has opened doors to new territories.
“There’s a lot of local business in Australia that wouldn’t normally come into the London market that we now have access to through Frontier. It’s been a huge win for us,” Davis said. “Frontier’s emerging market book also fits well within our overarching Financial Institutions strategy but is territorially brand new to us. Our partnership is generating a portfolio that’s much larger than it would be otherwise, but that said, we have a shared commitment to pursuing bottom-line profitability over top-line growth.”
That alignment in strategy – and the benefits it has generated for both Travelers and Frontier – have encouraged both parties to envision how the partnership will evolve in the long term.
“We’re certainly in this for the long-term, which should give brokers confidence, especially on long-tail cases,” Pridmore said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what new product lines or partnerships will develop between Travelers and Frontier down the track.”
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Authored by Travelers
We wrote the first auto insurance, the first aircraft liability insurance, and even the first personal accident cover for astronauts.
In today’s fast-changing world, this heritage of adventure really counts. With an extended network of underwriting, claims management, and industry experts in 125 countries, we’re here to insure your clients’ ambitions – no matter their size and scope. Our expertise and experience deliver policies that help them continue their journey.
With businesses facing ever more emerging and evolving issues, our suite of insurance products offers bespoke cover for each risk, and our commitment to genuine, caring partnerships means we’ll always be there to advise and support our clients and our broker partners, – whatever the future holds.
The Travelers Companies, Inc. (“TRV”) is a leading provider of property liability insurance for motor, home and business. The Group has more than 30,000 employees and operations in the United States, Canada, UK and Ireland.
The group has total assets of approximately $110 billion, shareholders’ equity of $26 billion and total revenue of $32 billion, as of December 31, 2019. Our European based operations offer our customers a wide range of coverage through Travelers Insurance Company Limited, Travelers Syndicate Management Limited (Syndicate 5000 at Lloyd’s), Travelers Underwriting Agency Limited and Travelers Insurance Designated Activity Company.
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