Broking operation aims to achieve £500m in annual premiums by end of year

AXA’s general insurance broking operation is aiming to add over £100m in acquisitions within the next six months in a bid to achieve £500m in annual premiums by the end of 2007.

Stuart Reid, co-chief executive of the broking division, said the company was in discussions with a number of potential acquisitions, valued between £10m -£20m in premium income.

The North West of England was a target area for acquisitions, he said.

The division, which has yet to be formally named by AXA, currently controls £380m in premium income.

Reid’s comments came as Smart & Cook, acquired by AXA earlier this year, bought BA Insurance Group. Based in York, BA Insurance Group specialises in the care home sector.

AXA is reported to be looking to double the size of its general insurance broking activities by 2012.

Reid said the division was keen to acquire specialist brokers and schemes providers.

The acquisition of a Lloyd’s broker would also be considered as part of AXA’s growth plans, he added.

“We have tens of millions of pounds placed with Lloyd’s. It would be sensible if we developed one either through acquisition or obtaining accreditations,” he told Insurance Times.

Reid said that the window in which the business would make aquisitions was the next 12 to 18 months, given current market conditions, the price of brokers and their appetite to sell.

The integration of AXA’s brokers will take place in phases over the coming years. “There will be acquisitions, then integ-ration, then the creation stage,” said Reid.

The ‘creation’ phase would involve the development of new schemes.

At present Stuart Alexander, Layton Blackham and Smart & Cook operate under their original structures.

Paul Meehan, group chief executive of Smart & Cook, Layton Blackham founder Chris Blackham and Reid are chief executives of Venture Preference, AXA’s acquisition vehicle.