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MGA Nirvana targets 'hundreds of millions' in premiums

The MGA is looking to expand its European footprint as well as grow beyond its media, technology and cyber product lines

The newly independent specialty managing general agent is looking to expand beyond its core product lines through new hires and mergers and acquisitions, its founders tell Insurance Day

Specialty managing general agent (MGA) Nirvana plans to grow its gross written premiums into the hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 10 years.

The London-based business, which recently launched as a stand-alone MGA, is looking to grow from $20m in premiums this year by expanding beyond its core product lines of media, technology and cyber through new hires and mergers and acquisitions.

Nirvana also plans to expand its footprint in Europe. The MGA writes around 60% of its business in the US at present.

“We're looking to create other specialist niche lines on the same platform,” Rob Jones, one of the MGA's founding directors, told Insurance Day

He continued: “There may be cross-pollination between those lines, which we will encourage particularly in terms of some of the capacity relationships and in terms of distribution. But there may well be large parts of each portfolio that stand alone with less synergies.”

The business originally formed in 2017 as Nirvana Risk Partners through MGA formation platform Castel Underwriting Agencies, before launching as an independent operation this month following a management buyout. 

The company already has some big names as capacity providers. “It’s a really strong panel that we’re really happy about in terms of where we’re at today and the tools that gives us to market ourselves and take the business forward,” said Jones.

'It’s a really strong panel that we’re really happy about in terms of where we’re at today and the tools that gives us to market ourselves and take the business forward'

Rob Jones

Kabir Chanrai, also a founding director, told Insurance Day the business had an idea of the lines it would like to enter, but said the MGA was not ready to share the details.

“If the right team comes up, then we’ll always work hard to try and figure it out,” he said of potential future acquisitions. “For each team we’re saying: ‘Are these individuals the right cultural fit? What’s the upside here in this line?’

"We don’t want to be in for just a year or two; we’ve got a five- to 10-year hold so can we make underwriting profit over the long term?”

Nirvana will target markets that are “sufficiently niche or differentiated” or where capacity providers might struggle to operate on their own, according to Chanrai. 

“We [need to be able to] build some sort of value for ourselves through that, either because we can service the market more efficiently through our tech or because we have a distribution angle they don’t, for example through our investors or connections,” he added. 

Nirvana will also look to expand its existing portfolio. The MGA currently leads with professional indemnity products for its media and technology lines, offering cyber as additional coverage. “We can do all those products in one, as well as separately, and we’ll continue to build our approach,” said Jones.

“I don’t think we’ve really touched the penetration that we can achieve through this product class," Jones said. "There’s a lot more we can do in terms of expansion, particularly in continental Europe, and our retail brokers on the continent want to work with us and be strategic partners.”

The business recently announced the appointment of Thomas Mannsdorfer to lead its European business. Jones said the appointment took the business’s footprint “in a slightly different direction for us in terms of continental Europe".

“That level of senior hire is really attractive to us as a first step in terms of how we build the platform out, and we’re already getting a lot of good reactions to that strategic move,” he added.

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