Life Insurance

How a top MGA secures its foothold in a changing landscape



Francis Johnson, the president of Johnson & Johnson Insurance, adheres to a simple and time-tested formula for success in his industry: building “strong, trusting relationships”. As he said in this interview, the team at J&J Insurance developed such relationships in the past two years by communicating frequently with agents and providing the necessary services. It’s no secret that this approach – especially important during the pandemic period – is one of the main factors behind the company’s 5-Star MGA award from Insurance Business.

Even though J&J Insurance operates in excess and surplus lines, a market segment that is complicated to navigate, the company is simplifying its processes so that retail and independent agents can increase their revenue. This is done by separating the business into two lines – personal and commercial – and having specialty areas under each line, Johnson said. He believes that a broker’s responsibility is to make sure that underwriters are educated and only sell in areas where they have expertise.

“We literally get it down to where everybody knows exactly what forms we write … so we can educate the independent agent on the differences between an admitted product and an excess and surplus lines product,” he said.

Considering the critical role of MGAs in the insurance distribution landscape, Johnson said the changes he has observed are due to more mergers and acquisitions among companies, which have resulted in fewer small MGAs.

As far as J&J Insurance’s position in this space is concerned, Johnson described the company’s dual roles: “We are relationship-oriented to our product and capital providers, and then we’re relationship-oriented to our independent agents. And people want to do business with people they trust … We actually embed people in all the communities we do business in. So, we know [what those communities needs] are, [we] pay taxes in those areas, and we think that’s [what makes us] a critical piece of the distribution.”

To maintain its best-in-class status as an MGA, J&J Insurance has invested in creating its own technology and growing its team of programmers and business analysts working to improve its products and services. This makes transactions easier for independent agents and gives them round- the-clock access to J&J’s system. Johnson also highlights the importance of an outward-facing strategy that enables accurate data sourcing for agents.

In the near future, the J&J Insurance aims to expand beyond the East Coast and create a national footprint while maintaining a relationship- and technology-oriented business.

Watch the full interview here

 

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