Coastal HO writer Orion180 goes full stack with E&S carrier launch
Tech-driven coastal homeowners insurance MGU Orion180 is moving its $150mn book of business to a newly launched rated standalone carrier as it transitions to a full-stack model, with plans to extend its Southeast footprint into new states as well as add its own admitted paper, The Insurer can reveal.
The move will guarantee the firm access to its own non-admitted and admitted paper, as well as provide alignment with reinsurers in a challenging market for cat-exposed homeowners business as it goes through the renewal process with broker Acrisure Re.
Orion180 Insurance Services was initially launched five years ago as an MGU by CEO Kenneth Gregg and has since built a $150mn written premium portfolio of HO3 business serving 80,000 policyholders in six states.
It has developed its own proprietary mobile application and technology platform, MY180, while also supporting third-party data integrations with insurance industry partners.
In a statement confirming the move to a full-stack insurer, the firm said Indiana-domiciled Orion180 Insurance Company began binding non-admitted homeowners policies in December.
Initially it has been writing covers in coastal areas of Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina, with the surplus lines company awaiting approval in North Carolina. Orion180’s current Southeast footprint also includes Georgia and Tennessee.
The firm is looking to extend that footprint to Midwest states later this year, targeting Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. It is also understood to be keeping a watching brief on developments in Florida following recent groundbreaking legislative reforms.
And Orion180 is closing in on the launch of an admitted platform, with a second carrier having also received its certificate of authority in Indiana and now going through the expansionary filing process for the existing six-state Southeast footprint before filing rates and forms.
Orion180 Insurance Company has secured an A “Exceptional” rating from Demotech and is also in the process of getting a rating from Kroll.
Additional lines of business are set to be added later this year alongside the geographical expansion.
In the statement, Gregg said: “Orion180 has built a brand known for providing cutting-edge technology, outstanding customer experience and a culture of innovation. Our goal is making it as easy as possible for customers and their agents to do business with Orion180 while offering competitive pricing and coverage.
“To guarantee the sustainability, continued growth of our organisation, and to better control the customer experience, it was imperative for the organisation to evolve to an independent carrier.”
Capacity access and reinsurance
And in an interview with this publication, Gregg said the move to go full stack had been part of Orion180’s plans since it was conceived and would be particularly beneficial in a challenging market for property cat capacity.
“Typically, with an MGA or MGU a lot of your focus becomes chasing paper and capacity. I wanted to focus on profitable underwriting running our own full-stack company. If I have enough confidence in our underwriting, why should I want to give away the profits that come with profitable underwriting?” he said.
With its own carrier platform, the firm will be able to focus its energies on underwriting, and ensure longevity in the marketplace, the executive suggested.
The full-stack model will also mean Orion180 is better aligned with its reinsurance panel, which is likely to be critical in an increasingly tight market for capacity.
Gregg said the firm has worked for a number of years with Craig Darling, now executive vice president at Acrisure Re.
“We’re in the renewal market right now, and I’ve worked very diligently with Craig building, establishing and nurturing longstanding relationships with an extensive panel of reinsurers globally,” he commented.
The panel includes 50-plus markets with a significant number of “deep” relationships.
“The reinsurers very much like that alignment and that [full-stack] structure. In property cat, the market has shifted away from the MGA and fronting company model pretty significantly,” Gregg observed.
“We’re excited about the future and the acceptance we’re receiving here in the reinsurance market is extremely positive for us. It supports that what we’ve done in the past has been positive, and we’ve been welcomed with open arms with our own carrier,” he concluded.