BCMG Insurance Brokers Limited is among the newest brokers in the Jamaican insurance market, but the company, born on July 1 from the merger of formerly competitor Billy Craig and MGI insurance brokers, has many years in the business, a massive portfolio and an enhanced asset base under its belt.
The merger puts the new company in a position to take advantage of the partnership network that 58-year-old Billy Craig Insurance has built across the Caribbean, to expand a larger share of the local and regional insurance brokerage business, its directors say.
For many years Billy Craig Insurance has been the official Jamaica correspondent for Aon PLC, the London-based global professional services firm that provides risk, retirement and health insurance advice to major multinational corporations operating in many countries. This arrangement will continue with BCMG.
“We have been looking for opportunities over many years. The discussions started in earnest in 2019, because we recognized the similarities in the operational cultures of both organizations. BCMG CEO William Craig told Gleaner Financial In a joint interview with Thomas Smith, CEO of the company.
“Having this transaction been successfully crowned, we will be excited about any opportunity that comes within Jamaica and regionally,” Craig, former CEO of Billy Craig Insurance Brokerage, said of the prospect of the licensed brokerage business landing elsewhere in the region.
Managers refer to the incorporation of technical skills, which, in their view, creates greater risk management and other capabilities, and also puts the new company in an advantageous position to provide its corporate clients with a much better range of services than its competing brokers. Although its leadership remains shy about revealing details of its planned new market strategy and keeps new product ideas close to the boxes, BCMG, they say, is looking to revolutionize the insurance broker’s business in terms of new products and services.
Smith, the former CEO of MGI, noted that changes in the market, over time, recommended consolidation, adding that the need for the merging companies to stay at the forefront of service delivery, made working together a clear necessity.
“My brokerage firm had a similar profile before the merger, where we focused on our corporate business, which provided 70 to 80 percent of our revenue, and we controlled a significant portion of the Jamaica private sector insurance business. Every day, the landscape is evolving on us, and our products Insurance, risk management tools and all the other critical areas of running a business are things that constantly need to be reviewed and updated,” Smith said.
The BCMG CEO added that moving quickly to provide more modern coverage required by customers was the challenge that the merger would solve, while providing an opportunity for growth. Smith did not say what new insurance products he said the company would focus on to increase revenue.
Meanwhile, the path to incorporating a new company, rather than an acquisition, is among the reasons one year between the signing of the merger agreement in October last year and the final approval earlier this year by the Insurance Regulatory Authority for Financial Services, the FSC.
“Maybe it had something to do with the structure we chose. We chose to form a new entity rather than merging one entity’s portfolio into another, which was probably faster. The Financial Services Commission had to put us through the whole process for a completely new insurance broker,” Craig explained.
As the largest group in the merger, bringing a larger portfolio of nearly 1,000 clients and more assets into the business, Billy Craig Insurance, which originated as a Montego Bay-based family business, controls approximately 67 percent of BCMG’s incorporation records indicate The Jamaica Corporate Office reports that 33 percent is owned by MGI.
The directors of the company, which was founded in September 2020, are Craig and Smith and Montego Bay entrepreneurs Stephen Deere and Ian Miller, as well as Jeffrey Ziadi, who replaced his father, Errol Ziadi – Smith’s former partner at MGI – who died last year. Kim Daly, former corporate secretary to MGI, serves in this capacity at the new entity.
Craig and Smith said their roles as CEO and CEO, respectively, had been adequately considered and documented in the merger talks that led to the October 2020 agreement.
“This was key to a successful merger, and our roles are important in moving the organization forward. We have a good understanding of how each person works, using each person’s strengths,” Smith noted.
The merger is not intended to reduce the number of 75 employees of the two companies. Peter Walker, who was the head of brokerage operations at Billy Craig Insurance, and Kimm Daley, a former general manager at MGI, took on the new appointment of BCMG’s vice president.
The offices that once housed Billy Craig Insurance in Montego Bay and at Seaview Avenue in Kingston, and MGI on Ripon Road in the company’s area, will continue to accommodate BCMG’s operations. Rather than acquiring real estate, technology that gives customers the ability to claim entirely online, as well as generate revenue, are the company’s main focus areas, its managers say.
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