“I will try to get this from $800 million in premiums to $2 billion in the next two and a half to three years,” said Richard Kerr (pictured), CEO of Novatae.
“That will be done in large part through acquisitions of other MGAs and specialty companies and hiring teams of underwriters around which we can build specialty programs.”
Why the Novatae deal was a “better way to do it” for MarketScout
Kerr joined Novatae in the company’s November purchase of MarketScout, a company he founded in 2000.
When the possibility of a deal with WIA arose, MarketScout was already “well along” starting an acquisition program of its own to grow its brand, with $350 million of private equity backing committed, according to the CEO.
“When I asked someone to have the courtesy to introduce me to [WIA]and I saw what the vision and the planning was, I made the decision that that would be a better way to do it, because I could take the reins as CEO, take the acquisitions that they had made, continue to grow and grow it beyond where it is today.” Kerr said.
WIA was looking for a “landmark acquisition to be the lynchpin and cornerstone,” Kerr said, and MarketScout fit the bill.
bedding in business
Now around 90 days with Novatae, Kerr said his time has been spent “largely” consolidating the 11 businesses.
“It’s an ongoing process, we’re getting better every day,” Kerr said.
“It took me a while to figure out where all the talent is landing, so now our next step will be to show the face of that talent to the retail community so they know how to best access it.”
The group includes Scottish American, a wholesale broker known for its unusual culture; for example, historically, staff have been able to choose their own titles, and these have ranged from the nondescript (eg, producer) to the flashy “master.” of currency’ or ‘jedi-claims’ –
and flat structure that its director of everything, Danny Ginden, described as “meritocratic” in a conversation with insurance business Last October.
With culture, as with other business elements, Novatae is taking a “mixture” approach of what works and what doesn’t, and Kerr said his goal is to “take the best of what each [business] has to offer”
“There is a tremendous amount of talent within [Scottish American] And as we go forward, what we’re going to try to do is take the best of the culture from each and every acquisition and combine them,” Kerr said.
“Obviously, it will change for everyone; It’s going to change for MarketScout, it’s going to change for Scottish American, it’s going to change for Keating.”
Aiming for growth through digital, data and the human touch
Each acquisition brings something “unique to the table,” Kerr said. For MarketScout, it’s distribution technology built over 20 years and relationships with more than 20,000 retailers.
The overall game plan is to use data and analytics and combine this with a “human experience” element.
“We were doing big data even before it was cool,” Kerr said.
“The ability to arrive and know where [for example] Every red-roofed barn in America is worth a lot, and we will use it for the benefit of our systems and for the benefit of our retail agent partners.”
The MarketScout exchange will act as an entry point for retail agents, Kerr said, with specialties compiled into verticals on the platform.
“We are not going to pretend,” says the CEO of Novatae
While the MGA and wholesale brokerage business has multibillion-dollar premium ambitions, it won’t look to grow in areas where it can’t compete, according to Kerr.
“There are some amazing competitors out there, and they’re all very good, so we’re going to pick those specialty areas that we can be the best at and introduce them and try to capitalize on them,” Kerr said. .
“If we’re not good at shipbuilding, we’re not going to pretend and try to build ships; we’re going to be very upfront with the retail community and tell them exactly what we’re good at and we’re going to try to be the best at it.
“We’re not going to go out there and say there’s nothing we can’t do, just send it to us and we’ll try to wing it. If we don’t do shipbuilding, we’ll just tell you, and in fact, we’ll probably connect you with one of our friendly competitors who’s great at shipbuilding, because at the end of the day when you walk through that door, our job is to find you a solution, even if you are not within one of our companies.”
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