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MacNeill Group: An Agent’s Go-To for Tough-To-Insure Markets

Florida has it all. Piney woods. Sandy beaches. Subtropical wilderness. Theme park destinations. Coastal marinas. Idyllic weather. 

Yes, Florida has it all. Hurricanes. Floods. Wind. Complex commercial businesses. Transportation supply-chain infrastructure. Excess and surplus insurance risks.

And yes, Florida has it all. Because they also have the PEAK6 InsurTech MacNeill Group®. 

When an Insurance Agent Doesn’t Have a Home

Troy Fornof is male presenting. He wears a casual, dark brown polo shirt, has dark hair that's graying at the temples, and he smiles broadly at the camera.
Troy Fornof, executive vice president, production & underwriting, PEAK6 InsurTech MacNeill Group®.

Excess and surplus insurance, or E&S insurance, is a type of coverage designed for risks too complex, unique, or high-risk for traditional insurance companies to handle. These risks include construction projects, environmental liability, high-risk occupations, catastrophe exposed property, and specialized equipment. And that’s where PEAK6 InsurTech’s MacNeill Group comes in: wholesale coverage of unique and unusual situations that traditional admitted companies won’t dare to consider. 

“What sets E&S insurance apart is that it’s not subject to the same regulations and rate structure as traditional insurance policies,” says Troy Fornof, executive vice president of production & underwriting at PEAK6 InsurTech MacNeill Group. This means that E&S insurers have more flexibility in setting premiums and coverage terms, making it a valuable option for businesses and individuals who cannot obtain coverage through traditional channels. As such, the E&S insurance market that PEAK6 InsurTech’s MacNeill Group covers is constantly evolving, with new products and approaches being developed to meet the needs of the changing world. 

Where Talking Insurance Gets Exciting

Florida Transport city junction road aerial view with vehicle movementFor the individual or the company, insurance is a legal necessity. It’s a box that gets checked off as a responsible pessimist — bought while thinking it’ll be there when (not if) needed. But the insurance agent and broker are the optimists — betting you’ll never make a claim. “That’s what I love about insurance as a career,” says Fornof, “how much fun it can be writing a policy. Brokerage is an art, and it’s not easy. That’s why it’s so exhilarating to solve a problem no one else can.” 

Fornof says that if he knew about excess surplus lines out of the gate, that’s where he would have started. Fornof started in the accident and health insurance market for volunteer fire departments. A narrow market taught him that it was fun to try new things and learn from mistakes. “It took the fear out of trying something different and gave me the willingness to take a risk,” says Fornof. Taking risks has paid off for Fornof’s work in the E&S insurance market. “Through E&S insurance,” says Fornof, “I’ve covered attractive markets like a concert tour for a Grammy award nominated rapper, the home of a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, branded drink supplements, and inventions of landscaping equipment.”

Because the markets PEAK6 InsurTech’s MacNeill Group works in are hard to place, there is no typical day like in retail insurance. Some days are talking to new markets and territories — like medical cannabis. Others are working with production teams and keeping up with legal changes and challenges. Squeeze in some meetings with IT and marketing so that the distribution plan is working at peak performance. Always mix in mentoring the newer producers on the most challenging risks. “I want my producers to have mentors in different areas of the insurance space,” says Fornof. “Create relationships with customers, carriers, and other producers to see how insurance impacts their business. You’ll be unstoppable in creating solutions.”

How Good Tech Makes Insurance Easier

Business team working together on research or innovation using a computer and tablet in their modern work office.In an age of AI and apps, Fornof doesn’t worry about tech replacing him or his peers. “Tech can be thought of too thinly; it’s a support tool for people, not a replacement,” Fornof says. “If you’re saving time with tech, you allow people to spend more time on what’s important and grow the business.” PEAK6 InsurTech’s MacNeill Group uses tech to support much of the business — day-to-day functionality, metrics, and tools to sell the product. 

A survey Fornof led helped to support his theory: Agents were asked first about what they wanted from a wholesaler, and the answer was good technology. But at the end of the survey, agents were asked what value would help their business grow, and the resounding answer was relationships. “Any tech we use,” says Fornof, “should simply allow for ease of business and create a quick turnaround time for clients.”

PEAK6 InsurTech’s MacNeill Group’s people are creating solutions where no standard exists. Nothing is cookie-cutter. Nothing is easy. And that’s just fine by them.

For a career that will unleash your purpose and feed your hunger to explore the unknown, check out our openings at PEAK6 InsurTech.

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