Canadian Underwriter

Canadian MGA association hires new managing director

November 6, 2020   by David Gambrill

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Steve Masnyk has been appointed as managing director of the Canadian Association of Managing General Agents (CAMGA), established in 2018 to advocate for Canadian MGAs.

With more than 20 years of experience in government relations, Masnyk is the founder and principal of SkyBridge Strategies, a government relations firm that advocates on behalf of insurance companies’ issues, ranging from financial institutions legislation to public policy dealing with natural disasters. He was the manager of public affairs at the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC) from 2005 to 2017.

CAMGA’s mandate is to promote education, organize advocacy for the Canadian MGA industry, and ensure consistent messaging in favour of MGAs to governments and regulatory agencies.

The country’s commercial lines of business are currently working through a hard market cycle, characterized by rate increases and shrinking availability of carrier capacity to underwrite risks in certain classes of business. Acting in the role of “brokerages for brokers,” MGAs can not only help brokers find hard-to-place, specialized lines of coverage, but, in some instances they have limited authority to underwrite coverage in specialized lines of business.

Niche and specialty underwriting within the P&C insurance industry has traditionally played a smaller role. But recent demand for specialized expertise in hard-to-place risk underwriting is growing exponentially, as Masnyk observed in a statement announcing his appointment.

“These unique times provide tremendous opportunities for MGAs to provide value to the insurance customer,” Masnyk said. “CAMGA aims to play an important role to foster that environment of success for our members.”

In the years since CAMGA’s founding, the Insurance Institute of Canada, in close collaboration with the association, developed a MGA-specific designation, which the association will continue to promote and foster, under Masnyk’s guidance.

“CAMGA will also set professional standards through best practices guidelines, as well as a MGA Code of Professional Conduct,” Masnyk said. “Using technology, CAMGA will also provide a one-stop-shopping web platform for brokers to access a member directory with their risk portfolios, especially the harder-to-place ones.”

Larry Shumka, chairman of CAMGA, said the association has been searching for a suitable candidate for the managing director role for about a year. He said Masnyk’s previous experience at IBAC, as well as his extensive political background, puts the association at an advantage to build its profile and membership.

“We are delighted to attract someone of Steve’s caliber, having the experience to push the association forward in its next stage of development,” Shumka said. “Standing as a collective is advantageous for the MGA community — collaboration is far better than for single MGAs to face these challenges independently.”

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