US-based speciality property and casualty insurer State National Companies is foraying into the UK market, starting 1 January 2024.

A subsidiary of speciality insurer Markel, State National is collaborating with Markel International Insurance Company to set up a programme services division.

The new unit will cater to MGAs in the UK, with a focus on assisting speciality commercial lines programmes.

Markel said the new division will benefit from Markel International Insurance Company’s robust balance sheet, current regulatory framework and operational controls, in addition to State National’s experience in the programme services industry.

Following regulatory approval, Rob Whitt, a 28-year veteran of Markel, will oversee the new division as the executive director of State National Global.

State National Companies president and CEO Matt Freeman said: “There is a meaningful growth opportunity supporting the creation of a programme services platform in the UK that will address strong demand associated with local MGAs and more broadly across the globe.

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“The UK MGA market is underserved, and we are intent on building a leading programme services division in the UK.”

Markel International president Simon Wilson said: “When complete, we believe Markel launching a division focused on programme services will bring much-needed capabilities to the market and help us better support the MGAs in the UK.

“It has been tremendous learning from State National’s skill and experience in programme services. We are excited about taking this offering to the UK MGA market.”

Last month, Markel acquired a 49% stake in UK-based tax MGA Certa for an undisclosed sum.

At the time, the US insurer said the investment in Certa would provide further access to long-term growth opportunities in a speciality line of business.