Munich Re Specialty Insurance eyes continued programs growth

Munich Re Specialty Insurance (MRSI)’s programs business team is targeting further growth in 2024 as it looks to build out its existing $1bn+ North American portfolio, with the company considering expansion into market segments where pricing, terms and conditions meet its underwriting criteria.

MRSI currently supports almost 40 programs – two-thirds of which focus on multi-line, admitted, homogenous class offerings, and one-third on monoline E&S products across property, casualty and specialty segments.

As Kevin Johnson, president of insurance programs at MRSI, explained, the company’s appetite for programs is not narrowly defined by class of business.

Instead, what is important is being aligned with program managers and MGAs on mutual, profitable growth over a diverse portfolio of business that can gradually develop, and which over time could expand into a relationship across three or more programs, he said.

Looking ahead, Johnson said growth with existing and new partners – provided those criteria are met – is firmly on the table.

“Heading into 2024, we feel like we're really on our front foot in terms of having the strength of the Munich Re Group behind us and the market conditions that surround us in that segment we choose to compete in,” the MRSI executive noted.

“We continue to see great opportunity in the MGA space, and growth opportunity broadly, especially with some of our partners that continue to build and develop their businesses, whether it's organically or inorganically through mergers and acquisitions,” he added.

That growth is dependent on a myriad of factors such as trading conditions and loss experience.

“In many areas, we've grown in the last 12 to 18 months with an outlook that we may continue to grow over the next 12 months, and in other areas we’re fine-tuning, optimizing and maybe pulling back,” Johnson detailed.

As part of its growth plans, Johnson said MRSI will continue to benefit from the “flight to quality” that has emerged in recent years, with programs increasingly looking to align themselves with financially strong partners that will be around in years to come.

“Our group's balance sheet is a real asset – we are in a position of strength,” said Johnson, as highlighted by parent Munich Re’s A+ financial strength rating from AM Best.

“We operate with admitted and non-admitted domestic paper and retain our risk, so our partners are always talking with the key decision makers in the deal and do not have to worry about counterparty risk.

“This allows our MGAs and the ultimate customers to feel comfortable and confident that they have the capital and the stability with their risk-taking entity, and we will be there without any question marks when losses happen.”

Property program growth

While some markets have scaled back their property writings, Johnson said MRSI’s programs business remains committed to the sector, as evidenced by the growth of its earthquake book.

Even though MRSI’s portfolio of storm-exposed business has remained relatively flat on an exposure basis, although up on premium, its programs platform is open to opportunity in those segments, again provided certain underwriting criteria are met.

“We're certainly not shrinking our footprint in the property cat space,” said Johnson.

“We've seen a dramatic shift in terms of rate, price, and terms and conditions in that market, and our view is that if we think we can get risk-adequate pricing and the right terms and conditions for the exposure, we'll be willing to entertain it.”

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