Beazley will continue its push into the UK marine market despite concentrating its main efforts on US specialty insurance.

The Lloyd's insurer said it intends to become "market leader" in the UK cargo market, which is estimated to be worth £350m.

Stephen Smyth, UK cargo underwriter at Beazley, told Insurance Times: "[The division] is very much at the embryonic stage at the moment and very much a long term plan."

Beazley recently opened up regional offices in Leeds and Manchester to complement its presence in London, Birmingham and Colchester.

"The expansion has very much been in the local markets to access the local business," explained Smyth. "In terms of market share it is very, very small, because we have only been going for just over 12 months."

Smyth did not discount further appointments and office openings in the regions, but said Beazley now serviced all the main marine centres.

Meanwhile, Beazley has announced an increase in profit before tax and foreign exchange on non-monetary items to £36.2m for the first six months of 2006, up from £28.9m. Gross written premium (GWP) was up 43% from £275.4m to £394.3m.