14 : Independent

Gross written premium (1999):

Independent Insurance Group (formerly New Scotland Insurance Group)

Year company established:

UK head office:
5th Floor
2 Minster Court
Mincing Lane
tel: 0207 623 8877
fax: 0207 481 3249


Company history:
The origins of Independent Insurance date back to 1904. Independent was formed in 1987 when a new management team, led by Michael Bright and holding company, New Scotland Insurance Group, brought the assets of the company from American insurer Allstate. Since then, the fortunes of the company have improved with a track record of year-on-year underwriting profits. Staff numbers have risen from around 450 to over 1,823 in 1999.

Significant events have included:

  • the flotation of Independent in November 1993 on the Stock Exchange – the first general insurer since the Second World War to be floated
  • the acquisition of the UK assets of Dutch insurer

    Aegon UK

  • the purchase of French insurers La Palatine Assurance in December 1995/January 1996
  • the purchase of specialist French underwriting agency SAFOM in February 1996
  • the opening of a new flagship operational centre in Cheadle, near Manchester in 1998
  • entering the Spanish market, opening branches in Madrid and Barcelona in January 1999
  • establishing an Irish operation based in Dublin in January 2000
  • winner of two national training awards (1990 and 1995)
  • voted best overall insurer in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998 and 1999 in the insurance broker industry awards
  • recognised as an Investor in People (1993 and 1997)
  • voted Plc of the Year in the Coopers & Lybrand/FT awards 1997
  • voted general insurers of the year in the British insurance awards in 1999

    Chief officer:
    Michael Bright, managing director

    Michael Bright was born in 1944. He was appointed chief executive of Independent in 1987, where he is also chairman and managing director.

    Previously he was director and general manager of Lombard Continental for five years. From 1967 to

    1982 he was with Orion Insurance Company, where he was group general manager from 1980. He is a member of the Court of the Worshipful Company of Insurers and he was appointed President of the Chartered Insurance Institute on September 29, 2000

    UK branch offices:

    UK staff:

    UK general insurance agents:

    UK general insurance “club style” agents:

    Main classes of business:
    commercial liability – 44.4%,
    personal lines and schemes – 20.8%,
    commercial property – 19.1%,
    international – 8.3%
    and other activities – 7.4%

    Key general insurance personnel:
    Phil Condon, deputy managing director
    Dennis Lomas, finance director
    John Blakemore, company secretary
    Peter Hadden, general manager
    Neil Williams, assistant general manager
    Ian Helmore, assistant general manager
    Andy Hawkes, assistant general manager