GB’s Key Takeaways from the TMPAA Mid-Year Meeting

The Target Markets Program Administrators Association (TMPAA) Mid-Year Meeting took place May 12–15 in Tampa, Florida. The TMPAA is an organization of managing general agents (MGAs), program administrators (PAs), carriers, and service providers dedicated to the unique challenges of program specialists and focused on insurance products targeted at a niche market or class, generally representing a book of similar risks placed with one carrier. 

We caught up with Gallagher Bassett’s (GB’s) Amy O’Brien, VP — Carrier Practice Sales, Jon Stambaugh, SVP — Carrier Practice, and Caryn Siebert, VP — National Director, Carrier Engagement, to hear their key observations from the event and get a better understanding of the need for specialty expertise and data-driven insights, as well as how GB’s service offerings complement the dynamic needs of the programs we manage for our partners. 

What makes the TMPAA Mid-Year Meeting a must-attend event for you?  

Amy O’Brien (AO): The TMPAA is comprised of more than 650 members, including 400 PA entities and 90 program markets, rounded out by service providers, such as GB, who are focused on this industry segment. The Mid-Year Meeting provides access to 80+ program carriers, including London Markets, reinsurance support, and networking opportunities for our team to highlight our innovative solutions and launch new programs that empower MGAs and PAs to elevate their market presence. 

Jon Stambaugh (JS): Overall, the midyear felt more like an annual meeting—it was fast paced with a high volume of meetings and over 1,200 attendees. We are proud to be members of TMPAA and support this association, including this year’s student panel, which GB sponsored in partnership with the Spencer Educational Foundation. 

Caryn Siebert (CS): The latest iteration of the group’s Program Business Study reported a total program business premium approaching $80 billion. Complimentary to the success of the mid-year gathering, TMPAA could see nearly 2,000 attendees at the 24th Annual Summit in October where our team will be sponsoring and holding meetings with business partners.  

With this increase in size comes necessary caution; on several occasions, carriers expressed concern that the fast-growing MGA sector needs to be mindful of increasing risk if there is lax underwriting or weaker product design. Carriers and MGAs both indicated to us that they must structure their relationships with appropriate checks and balances, especially as they launch new products together. Care needs to be given and a balance achieved between pressure for short-term growth (especially regarding private equity deals and various mergers) vis-a-vis long-term sustainability. 

What emerging challenges and opportunities surfaced at the Mid-Year Meeting, and have you come across any solutions for how these can be addressed? 

AO: My personal observation from meetings: carriers were very specific about capacity in terms of what niche programs and lines of coverage they will write and which ones they will not. The topic of embedded insurance, or insurance policies as an add-on, came up in multiple conversations with attendees expressing interest or looking to pilot new initiatives.  

A focus on gathering reliable data and leveraging it to improve their decision-making was consistent across conversations with MGAs and PAs alike. Stockpiling transactional data is one thing, but utilizing predictive analytics and tapping into risk data insights is what ensures organizations rise above their competitors. Our risk management information system (RMIS), Luminos, combines superior software capabilities and expert data analysis to streamline operations for growth and success. In fact, the annual RMIS Report from Redhand Advisors has recognized Luminos as the most comprehensive product offering in the bundled TPA space for seven consecutive years. 

Additionally, MGAs in some meetings expressed that they are looking for claims teams with a wider scope geographically, more innovative resources, and specialty lines expertise. Partnering with a specialized claims management firm, such as GB’s dedicated Carrier Practice boutique operation, can enhance risk management and claims outcomes. By prioritizing efficiency, innovation, and responsiveness in claims handling, MGAs and PAs can deliver exceptional service that pleases customers and sets them apart from competing programs. 

CS: Last year at this time, property was definitely a concern, but MGAs indicated that they have seen a shift in the property world with more capacity now available to support the programs market, both from reinsurers and carriers, which is allowing for growth. However, in light of increasing jury verdicts and other social inflation factors, auto/transportation, especially trucking, has been experiencing more challenges. 

For our team, this reinforced that the time and attention GB has spent building out the specialized capabilities of our transportation Major Case Unit (MCU) has been well worthwhile. Our ability to train our claim professionals regarding the nuances of transportation claims, reptile theory, and tools at their disposal to avoid potentially explosive verdicts has been key to their success. Capacity abounds for general liability and workers’ compensation business, but attendees indicated there are more challenges if there is a sizable auto component. Here too, our predictive analytics tools, including Luminos, SMART benchmarking, and Waypoint, are helping our MGA partners and carriers to proactively monitor leading indicators (as opposed to lagging indicators) to avoid surprises and achieve better outcomes, which positively impacts their books. 

JS: Overall, specialty lines written through MGAs and PAs require a specialized claims operation to mitigate their risk, and GB offers a robust team of specialists with deep technical expertise across all lines of coverage, complexities, and specialized liability that can easily adapt to these risks.  

AO: Not surprisingly, a common topic that came up in several meetings was the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Many MGAs, PAs, and carriers were interested in how they could leverage AI in their operations and improve results. Over the past several months, GB’s team of data scientists and claims professionals have partnered to develop our game-changing Gen AI roadmap. This year at RIMS, the positive feedback we received was overwhelming from clients, prospects, and frontline claims staff. By leveraging GB’s Gen AI to rapidly summarize claims and documents or answer questions quickly, the possibilities to positively impact the day-to-day work of our claims professionals are constantly evolving.  

Talent is a persistent challenge across all industries and the focus of the panel sponsored by GB was on successfully accessing student talent. What insights did attendees gain from this session? 

AO: GB was proud to sponsor the session entitled “Elevate Your Workforce: Accessing Student Talent” in partnership with the Spencer Educational Foundation moderated by Tandeka Nomvete, Director, External Engagement. Our student committee, led by Gene Abbey, is dedicated to cultivating awareness of opportunities for young people in the program space. The panel was designed to help leaders connect with students as young as high school in the work that we do and enhance interest to become future program stakeholders and stay ahead of the growing industry talent gap. 

JS: Panelists from across the industry discussed unlocking the potential of the next-generation workforce and covered several critical topics for MGAs and PAs to consider. They emphasized the importance of tapping into the rising talent pool by actively engaging with educational institutions and establishing strategic school partnerships as well as the significance of outreach programs targeting high school seniors to create awareness about career opportunities in the insurance industry. Additionally, the development of internship programs was highlighted as a valuable tool for attracting and nurturing young talent. Lastly, the panel emphasized the impact of student outreach and the importance of accessing industry resources to support these initiatives (listen to the full podcast recording here). 

CS: Beyond our panel sponsorship, GB is proud to be taking a proactive approach to reducing the talent gap with several initiatives. Recently, we launched IN2GB, our rotational internship program dedicated to partnering with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to introduce more students to our industry. Following the panel, several people came to speak with us at our booth to learn more about how we attract talent for our internships, our trainee program, and our appearance on the RISE Elite 50 Internships list. 

GB’s Carrier Practice is like no other claims management firm. We are a boutique within the larger GB network, and our team is dedicated to serving programs and understanding the needs of every program stakeholder.  

To connect with our team of experts and discover how we can help you achieve superior outcomes, book a free consultation here. 

Amy O'Brien

VP — Carrier Practice Sales

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