Q: R&Q purchased Accredited in late 2014. What has the company been doing since its acquisition?
A: We are licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since being acquired by R&Q, we have taken a strategic approach to developing the company for the future. The company has a 45 year history of being a successful insurer across America. Since the company’s acquisition in November, 2014, we have sought to capitalise on this important history of success in two key ways: building out our licensed platform nationally to become a program and surety insurer providing admitted market insurance support on a nationwide basis; and by targeting Loss Portfolio Transfer and self-insurance business using Accredited’s admitted platform to facilitate transactions. All along, though, we have worked to tell the Accredited story. It is a story that honours our successful 45 year history, makes evident our present market opportunity and signals our promising future.
For much of 2016 we focused on building out our approved lines of authority in America. This was a two-step process. First we had to build a robust product license base in our home state of Florida. Once done we then turned our focus to the entire US. Our national expansion effort is well underway and producing approvals across the individual states.
Alongside building a broadly licensed property and casualty insurance company, we have personally marketed Accredited across America to tell our powerful story. Our team have been on the road and in the air continuously for most of 2016, developing new contacts and building upon relationships. We value a personal, face to face conversation as we develop a particular piece of business. Nothing can replace that.
Since the purchase by R&Q, Accredited has also put new business on the books. We have successfully launched new programs and have several currently in diligence review.
Q: Can you tell us more about the admitted market build out you mentioned?
A: Accredited has several key strengths. For example, we have an A-rating. We are licensed as an admitted carrier in 50 states and the District of Columbia. We have now received approval for significant license expansions across the States and are rapidly rounding out the remainder. As a result we now have solutions for many property and casualty programs in our industry. For those MGAs and specialtist operators seeking a new partner for the future, we offer a better solution in many respects than some of the market incumbents.
Q: What is R&Q’s ambition for Accredited?
A: The Group’s long term ambition for Accredited is to be a leading solution for admitted specialty insurance business across America. We have the power of R&Q Group’s significant talent and knowledge located in London, Philadelphia, Bermuda and Malta behind us to support our Accredited team and to underpin our growth and success.
Q: Are you seeing opportunities and where are they coming from?
A: We are seeing a steady flow of good opportunities from across the country and from London. Not only is deal flow steady, we are pleased to see a broad range of business size as well. We are hearing from well established MGAs that are employing technology in significant ways. Opportunities are coming in from national and super-regional brokers and captive managers. We are having meetings with quality operators with excellent reputations who are seeking a new home for their business. We are also excited to see some excess and surplus lines business looking to add admitted insurance alongside their offerings. Over the previous year we have built a presence at industry events, across the traditional P&C, legacy and captive spaces. We will continue this effort as we build Accredited and we anticipate seeing many good opportunities for us to do business. While Accredited will not be all things to all people, nor do we intend to be, we are heartened by the robust level of business opportunities we have seen so far.
On the legacy side, our recent transaction with the Maryland Motor Truck Association Workers’ Compensation Self Insurance Group (MMTA) novating their liabilities into Accredited has proved particularly important. We have already managed to secure workers’ compensation licenses in 10 of the largest states for this business and can now novate and bring finality to self insurance business in this segment, like we did for the MMTA transaction. The US self-insurance industry is quite vast. Our team at R&Q are interested in the property and casualty part of the self insurance industry and Accredited is a key component of accomplishing these types of transactions. This segment is a powerful adjunct to our Loss Portfolio Transfer (LPT) business, a space where we are seeing good results both with deals completed and deal flow.
Q: What is Accredited’s view on participating in the business you will write?
A: A group mandate for Accredited is our balance sheet protection through securing the highest quality reinsurers on the business we write. But we know the importance of even taking even a modest participation in a particular program is often quite meaningful to reinsurers.
In the traditional property and casualty insurance lines we have experienced that an important differentiator for Accredited is our view on taking some retention in business we insure. This element alone drives a significant amount of inquiries.
Q: For those seeking to do business with Accredited, is there a standard process a client will move through?
A: Yes, there is. Our new account process requires two levels of approval by the Accredited team and by senior leadership. This approval only comes after a thorough diligence review and submssion of a comprehensive reprogram to the senior team. We have developed a robust diligence process that you would expect to see an insurer conduct. Yet where others may not engage at a personal level early in the process, we take the opposite view. We know it is vital to not only conduct thorough due diligence, we believe it is also essential to conduct what we refer to as cultural diligence. It is easy for insurers, or most businesses for that matter, to become enchanted with numbers while avoiding or giving short shrift to the culture of a business partner. That is why we engage on a personal level early on with every account we consider moving into the diligence process.
Q: Will Accredited focus on any particular region of America for its business?
A: No. We are relentlessly focused on quality business partners who have a reputation for execution and deep knowledge of their product, regardless of where they are located. As we look toward the future, however, we do plan to develop our business in non correlated segments so that we aren’t overweighted in any particular line of business. Each new account that we bring aboard must be integrated into our process. Proper integration is vital to long term success in any business model and we subscribe to this view. Our Accredited team has an active presence in the business we bring aboard, from auditing and reporting to supplementing our relationship with a consultative approach and adding value where we can.
Channel conflict is often a significant issue in our industry. We are quite sensitive to this issue and recognise the strategic value an operator can have when they can develop their market free of conflict with the same insurer.
Simply adding accounts for top line revenue only to cut across other clients in the particular space will be a failure from the outset. Our clear focus is on developing long term successful relationships, growing the business alongside our accounts over the long term.