The American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA) and the National Association of Professional Surplus Lines Offices (NAPSLO) are considering combining both organizations into one association and have formed a joint committee to explore the idea.

Brady Kelley, executive director, NAPSLO, told Insurance Journal that the decision to explore a merger makes sense and believes a consolidated group would provide significant benefits for members, but the committee must first develop a proposal for each membership to consider. “The committee’s job will be to evaluate what a new organization should look like, how it should be governed and how it should function,” Kelley said.

“This exploratory committee will undertake the efforts in a thoughtful and deliberate manner and present their findings and recommendations to the memberships,” said Bernie Heinze, executive director of AAMGA.

AAMGA and NAPSLO have long worked together to coordinate programs and services for members, said Ed Levy, AAMGA president, and Dave Leonard, NAPSLO president, in a letter on Thursday to members of the associations. According to the association leaders, there is added opportunity going forward with a consolidated organization.

“Our primary focus is to add value in today’s environment by serving the AAMGA and NAPSLO membership as efficiently and as economically as possible,” Levy and Leonard said in the letter. “A thoughtful consolidation can do exactly that, without diminishing the strengths of our relationships and membership resources. The synergy of the AAMGA and NAPSLO, together serving the entirety of the wholesale insurance marketplace, is a common sense opportunity neither organization can afford to ignore.”

The letter by Levy and Leonard listed potential benefits of combining the two separate associations as:

  1. A simplified menu of programs and services, eliminating pressure for members to choose between similar offerings from the two existing organizations;
  2. Refinement of the three existing networking events offered by the AAMGA and NAPSLO to two annual events. This could generate significant indirect cost savings (time and travel) while providing attendees effective forums focused on both delegated underwriting and transactional brokerage;
  3. A larger, unified voice in legislative and regulatory advocacy;
  4. Improved synergy in committee and volunteer work;
  5. A broadened curriculum of education and professional development;
  6. Maximizing college outreach and talent recruiting initiatives for members;
  7. A single, rebranded organization representing the entirety of today’s wholesale insurance market, which will be highly effective in promoting the value of wholesale distribution with a stronger, unified voice; and
  8. A new sense of energy and purpose, which will revitalize the joint membership.

Kelley said that while the memberships of the AAMGA and NAPSLO overlap there are differences in what members of each group want and need from their respective organizations. “The committee’s job will be to evaluate what a new organization should look like, how it should be governed and how it should function, not only drawing from the best of each organization but also defining what will create the greatest value for each constituency within our memberships,” he said.

Kelley added that the committee will consider branding the new organization under a new name and how the combined group will operate. “Part of the committee’s exploration will include consideration of how we effectively staff a single, unified and rebranded organization representing the overwhelming majority of the U.S. wholesale surplus lines marketplace,” he said.

But any final decision to combine the two organizations or to continue each associations’ course will rest solely with the respective memberships, Heinze added. “In the meantime, our various efforts will continue, and we will keep AAMGA members informed on the progress of the exploratory committee’s activities,” he said.

AAMGA was established in 1926. For most of its history, membership was limited primarily to managing general agents. In 1983, the AAMGA opened its membership to domestic and foreign insurance companies, underwriters and other organizations that provide insurance related services to the wholesale insurance system. Then in 2013, the association opened its membership further, welcoming managing general underwriters, program administrators, aggregators and other wholesale insurance professionals.

NAPSLO was established in 1975 to represent the surplus lines industry. As a national trade association, NAPSLO represents surplus lines insurance agents/brokers, surplus lines insurance companies and associate members from more than 1,500 member offices, all comprising the wholesale insurance distribution system.

Reporter Andrea Wells is the editor-in-chief of Insurance Journal, a sister publication of Carrier Management.