New London office signals Irish broker's challenge to direct sector

Irish broker Blue Insurance has begun a drive into the UK travel insurance market.

The company has opened an office in London, specialising in white-labelled products for travel agents.

Blue director Ciaran Mulligan told Insurance Times: "We have been very successful in Ireland and are looking to replicate this success in the UK.

"The UK travel trade needs to compete both in retail shops and online against the direct companies, supermarkets, banks and credit unions," he said.

"We will make the travel agents more competitive than the direct players."

Mulligan said the company had set a target of €3m (£2m) GWP in the first year, but added that "it could be more".

He said that when the company launched in Ireland in 2004, it quadrupled its targets, achieving over €8m (£5.4m) premium in the year.

"We hope to get 500 agents [on our books] in the first year," he said.

The company will focus particularly on the North of England, especially Manchester, and Scotland.

Mulligan did not rule out opening further UK offices.

He added that the firm was investigating further expansion plans into Eastern Europe and Asia.

"We are looking at Poland, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong and Shanghai," he said.

Mulligan said Blue also planned to launch a home insurance product in the UK and Ireland later in the year.