Pen Underwriting is not daunted by the after effects of Covid-19 and has set out a plan for rapid growth. Having marked its first five years of trading as a single, cohesive business by unveiling a bold new strategy of accelerated growth and a vision to become an underwriting and distribution business generating £1bn in gross written premium.
As he approaches six months in post, new Pen Chief Executive Officer Tom Downey has set out his vision and long-term strategy for the business against the backdrop of a maturing MGA sector, key insurance market trends and macroeconomic challenges.
“In just five years, we have built a trusted, well-known brand that has evolved from a ‘super start-up’ in 2015 and grown into a £600m GWP underwriting and distribution platform,” said Tom Downey. “We’ve integrated 14 businesses, transformed our operational capabilities and significantly increased our profit margin by investing in the creation of a multi-class, multi-territory virtual insurer that controls not just its sales and distribution, but pricing, product innovation, underwriting appetite, analytics, governance and claims management.
“Our scale, reputation and capabilities now draw more comparisons to a UK ‘top 20’ insurance company than to any MGA peer. But the journey doesn’t end there.”
He continued: “Pen was always designed to be greater than the sum of its parts. Now more than ever, with a hardening market, changing distribution landscape and the pre-eminence of data, MGAs must prove their worth in the insurance value chain. And with a more restricted delegated authority capacity pool, that demonstration of value needs to be constant as capacity providers go ‘back-to-basics’ in selecting their MGA partners.
“That means we want to roll out more specialist niche practices, more market-leading teams, more technology-driven efficiencies and more economies of scale. Hence the focus on accelerating our growth as we look to the next milestone of Pen at 10.
“Our vision is to become a £1bn GWP underwriting and distribution business. This is our new ‘North Star’. Clear, inspiring and intentionally ambitious.”
Driving the plan for accelerated growth with be Nick Wright, appointed into the newly created role of Chief Business Development Officer (CDO) – subject to regulatory approval. Nick 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 sector or product areas, and investing in innovation to underpin the expansion of Pen’s e-trade capabilities.
“Nick’s new role is one that’s fundamental to the successful execution of our strategy as we look ahead to the next milestone,” said Tom. “We have a bold vision to accelerate our growth, and this will demand 100% focus on everything we are trying to achieve. It can’t be achieved off the side of someone’s desk. And there’s no one better suited.
“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.
“But, more than that, Nick is entrepreneurial, well-known and respected across the market. 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.”
On assuming his new role as CDO, Nick commented: “This is an exciting time at Pen and we’re looking for the talent, teams and businesses who want to join us in this next phase of our journey. 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.
“Those who want to be part of a dynamic, entrepreneurial next-generation MGA that rewards success, embraces innovation and insurtech, and can demonstrate the value they add every day, should get in touch.”