MGA in the insurance industry usually refers to a Managing General Agent or Agency. CarInsurance.com has a subsidiary MGA called Maitland Underwriters. Sometimes referred to as a wholesale agent, a managing general agent can be a individual, firm or business entity who is authorized by an insurer to supervise business activities on behalf of the insurer(s) they represent. The managing general agent may provide marketing, underwriting, administrative services, issue policies, collect premiums, appointing and supervising agents, claims handling and reinsurance negations. The MGA however does not typically deal directly with the insured, the agent or broker using the service of the MGA does. The agent provides services to the insured and the MGA provides services to the agency and or agent.
The managing general agent can provide a way for insurance companies to offer specialized coverage, such as surplus lines, commercial lines and professional liability for brokers and or agencies to provide for the consumer without the higher cost of the insurance company managing these specialty coverages themselves.
Managing general agents are licensed with the state(s) that they transact business in and usually must be appointed to insurance carrier(s) that they represent. Each state has specific guidelines that the MGA must meet and maintain in order to do business in that state as a managing general agent. For additional information on the requirements for your state, please check with your state's insurance regulator.
You can think of an MGA as the middle man or company between an insurance company and the agent/agency or consumer.