Founded in 1686, Lloyd’s of London boasts an extensive history as a syndicate-driven insurance marketplace. And as one of the first MGAs in Canada to tap into that marketplace, South Western Insurance has sustained a decidedly productive relationship with Lloyd’s for well over forty years.
“In a market that ebbs and flows,” says President and CEO John Barclay, “it has been our company’s ability to deliver a stable source of solutions over time that is one of our most compelling features.”
And that steady source of capacity, claims Barclay, is largely the result of South Western Insurance’s long-standing partnership with Lloyd’s. “We do not come and go, we are not in and out. And that is good for our brokers and our partners in London because it provides a consistent presence across the country.”
Toronto Branch Manager Ghazal Hamid believes that the impressive length and latitude of the company’s relationship with Lloyd’s has most certainly grown out of a two-way exchange. “A lot of MGAs try to get access to Lloyd’s,” he explains, “and many do achieve that access. But not to the level that SWG has.”
Barclay agrees, and is only too happy to elaborate. “Our partnership with Lloyd’s has actually deepened over the years, especially as we have moved more and more toward becoming an underwriting business. We have really worked on expanding the depth of some of our specialty capabilities in recent years. And we have been using London’s innovation to help us develop product, and bring those solutions to our brokers.”
It is notable that South Western Insurance first pursued a relationship with Lloyd’s because domestic markets could not provide the parameters, the coverage, or the terms required for various classes of business. But what started out simply as access on a wholesale basis, says Hamid, has grown into a deep-rooted pairing that includes MGA aspects as well.
“What we are doing now is writing on Lloyd’s behalf and that allows us to come up with more innovative solutions for our brokers. As an MGA/wholesaler dealing with a specialty niche market, we get the classes of risk that domestic markets do not want to write. Having the ability to think on the fly is key, and I think that is why our relationship with Lloyd’s has been paramount in terms of our long-term growth.”
“Working with Lloyd’s is a very iterative process,” Barclay adds. “Sometimes a syndicate will be looking to make something happen in Canada, and they’ll need to find a partner with the tools to achieve that. Other times, we are the ones presenting the business plan, looking for syndicates aligned with what we are trying to do. There is relationship development in both directions. It is truly a form of exchange.”
Hamid sums up the company’s relationship with London as one of reciprocity. “Lloyd’s looks to partner with individuals and companies that can fulfill special needs, and we do the same. So there is give and take on both sides.” And that, he says, is exactly what defines all successful and long-standing partnerships.