Need for communication and entrepreneurial skills top MGA talent development poll

6 May 2015

Communication and entrepreneurial skills are seen as the most important skills that UK MGAs require of their employees according to the third MGAA Matters Survey1.

When asked what are key employee business skills – over and above literacy and numeracy – 89% of respondents cited communication. Negotiation (49%), sales (46%), IT (46%) followed in order of importance with foreign languages ranked last with only 6%.

Entrepreneurialism in MGA employees was also seen as the number one personal attribute more than other parts of the insurance sector, by 80% of UK MGAs. Being a self-starter, personable and resilient were all equal second (57% each) with loyalty not being seen as quite as important (49%).

For those looking to enter the MGA sector, who you know or who knows you remains key to securing employment with 35% of respondents recruiting through personal contacts. Headhunters are used by 31%.

The utilisation of apprenticeships within the UK MGA market was also analysed. 31% of respondents said they were currently employing apprentices or had done so in the past and another 37% are actively considering this route.

When asked about how to attract more graduates to the MGA sector, respondents indicated that clear career paths and promotion opportunities (both 51%) were the top benefits. Support to continue achieving relevant qualifications and CPD was a close third with 49%. Interestingly, aspects such as offering an enhanced salary package and more graduate training schemes were not considered as important (both 20% of respondents).

Once hired, 89% of the MGAs questioned train their staff in-house with 46% paying for external training courses and 26% offering a formal accredited training programme. Only 6% did not offer a formal training programme.

MGAA Matters is a research-based partnership between the Managing General Agents’ Association (MGAA) and MGA start-up specialists Castel Underwriting Agencies (Castel). It was launched in 2014 to identify and raise awareness of the issues currently impacting the growth and success of UK MGAs.

Commenting on the MGAA Matters survey results, Mark Birrell, chief executive officer of Castel said: “More than any other sector of the UK insurance market, MGAs need employees that can communicate, innovate and utilise entrepreneurial skills to target and win business from brokers with niche clients.

“To succeed in this competitive market, MGAs also need to recruit the best and continually nurture their talent to ensure the whole business from admin to CEO is always at the top of its game.”

Peter Staddon, managing director of the MGAA said: “Talent is the lifeblood of an MGA especially in the early years following launch when teams are often small. The third MGAA Matters survey has clearly shown that soft skills have a vital role to play and as an association the MGAA needs to drive forward the use of apprenticeships and continual education to produce the leaders and new business creators of the future.”

For further information, please contact:

Ian Barrett, Concise PR

M         07949 422257

T          020 7100 3960


Alex Wise, Concise PR

M         07710 665 615

T          020 7100 3960


1 The third MGAA Matters survey took during March and April 2015. A total of 35 Full MGAA Members responded.

Full survey responses are below (statistics highlighted in the press release have been rounded up or down to the nearest decimal place):

What three personal attributes do MGAs require more than other parts of the insurance sector in general?

Entrepreneurialism: 80.0%

Self-starter: 57.1%

Resilience: 57.1%

Personable: 57.1%

Loyalty: 48.6%

In addition to literacy and numeracy, what are the key business skills that your MGA requires of its employees?

Communications: 88.6%

Negotiation: 48.6%

Sales: 45.7%

IT: 45.7%

Foreign languages: 5.7%

What is your primary method of recruiting talent to your MGA?

Personal contacts: 34.3%

Head hunters/recruitment agencies: 31.4%

Advertising: 20.0%

Peer group recommendations: 14.3%

Candidates pro-actively contacting us direct: 0.0%

Milk round/career’s fairs: 0.0%

Do you use apprenticeships to bring talent into your MGA?

We are considering recruiting apprentices in the future: 37.1%

We have /have had apprentices and it has proven worthwhile: 31.4%

We are not considering recruiting apprentices in future: 31.4%

We have /have had apprentices and it did not prove worthwhile: 0.0%

How do you develop your existing talent?

In-house on the job training: 88.6%

External training courses paid for by the company: 45.7%

A formal accredited training programme: 25.7%

We do not have a formal training programme: 5.7%

What are the top three benefits that will attract graduates to work in the MGA market?

Clear career path: 51.4%

Promotion opportunities: 51.4%

Support in achieving relevant qualifications and CPD: 48.6%

On the job training: 42.9%

Wider promotion of the MGA sector in colleges and universities 40.0%

Mentoring: 20.0%


The Managing General Agents’ Association (MGAA) is a UK based not for profit organisation dedicated to representing true MGAs.

Formed in 2011, the MGAA also aims to provide a better understanding of what MGAs are and the contribution they make to the insurance industry.

The MGAA currently has 93 full members representing over £3.3bn of underwriting capacity.  They are joined by 36 market practitioner members and 22 supplier members.

A board of directors have been elected to lead the organisation.  In addition, five separate committees deliver benefits for members with a clear aim of shaping the future of delegated underwriting.

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