Canadian Underwriter

Canadian MGA association takes centre stage with new board of directors

June 11, 2021   by Greg Meckbach

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Gary Hirst is stepping down as president of the Canadian Association of Managing General Agents (CAMGA).

“You might think it is strange that I am pleased to be stepping down,” Hirst, the CEO of CHES Special Risk Inc., announced during CAMGA’s annual general meeting Thursday. “The reason why I am pleased is the association is now established and it is sustainable.”

Hirst, a founding member of CAMGA, was a driving force behind the creation of the association. He noted that CAMGA’s bylaws stipulate his term as president ends after two years.

CAMGA’s new board will select a new president and board chairperson soon, the association’s managing director, Steve Masnyk, told Canadian Underwriter after the AGM.

During Thursday’s AGM, CAMGA members elected nine new members to CAMGA’s board of directors.

CAMGA now has 65 MGA members, which is about 80% of the total number of MGAs in Canada, said Hirst.

“Now that we are a proper collection of members, that in itself adds an enormous amount of strength,” Hirst said. “It makes the insurers aware that we are a proper professional body of people. We are not just ragtag underwriters looking to write various pieces of business that domestics can’t write.”

It can also help MGAs raise investment capital, suggested Hirst.

“The banks can see that there is a proper national association in place. If you are a member of that association, you have got to be serious. I think there is a huge amount of added value when it comes to looking to invest in your companies. I would encourage the new board to continue with that train of thought.”

The nine new members of CAMGA’s board of directors elected June 10 are:

  • John Barclay, South Western Insurance Group
  • Patrick Bouchard, Plan B Insurance Solutions Inc.
  • Randy Carroll, Approved Casualty & Surety
  • Michael Lough, Intact Public Entities
  • Fred Morison, a10k Inc. and Aurora Underwriting Services Inc.
  • Kent Pitkin, April Canada
  • Jean-Francois Raymond, Groupassur
  • Johann Schneider, i3 Underwriting Managers
  • MaryKate Townsend, Pacific Marine Underwriters

CAMGA’s three pillars are education, advocacy, and regulation, Hirst said.

CAMGA has a committee of four who are “leading the charge to pre-empt provincial regulators from taking the regulatory route that members would not like to go down,” said Masnyk. The regulatory affairs committee is comprised of Carroll, Stephen Stewart, Lough, and Michael Bennett.

“We are in talks with over half of the regulators in this country about our proposal,” said Masnyk.

During Virtual Symposium B.C. May 6, Masnyk explained CAMGA’s approach to regulation. At that time, Masnyk said CAMGA was working on a proposed regulatory regime that it would recommend to more than 10 insurance regulators across Canada.

“The goal here is for the sector to have uniform standards to meet as far as confidence, professionalism, and trust. How that looks at end of day we don’t really know, but we are working towards that,” Masnyk said May 6.

A Virtual Symposium B.C. audience member asked Masnyk who regulates and controls the MGA market.

“We have probably 14 different answers. It depends on the province and depends what kind of entity you registered as,” Masnyk said at the time.

“There is no such thing as an MGA category of licensing or registration. The majority of MGAs are licensed as brokers across the country. Some jurisdictions have no requirement to register as anything.”

During the June 10 AGM, Hirst explained why advocacy is important.

“It’s not just telling everyone how wonderful we are. It is being able to advocate the services that an MGA provides. It helps us to appeal to governments – the amount of money the MGA industry pays in taxes is incredibly important.”

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1 Comment » for Canadian MGA association takes centre stage with new board of directors
  1. Frank Cain says:

    MGA’s bring insurance to clients the secluded market is not able to do and the reasons are not always tied to risk – volume, performance, selection, things the MGA works around if the risk is writable for the right premium, allowing a choice for the client otherwise unavailable and giving satisfaction to the dogma of regulatory rule for the broker.

    MGA’s are an essential and unarguable necessity for the financial protection of the client and the welfare of a broker.

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